The benefits of owning a pet are numerous. According to News in Health, interacting with animals "has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol (a stress-related hormone) and lower blood pressure." While other studies have found benefits including a reduction in loneliness, increased feelings of support, and better moods amongst pet owners.
But for renters, owning an animal can be impossible. The Sun reports that only 7% of landlords in the United Kingdom advertise their properties as suitable for animals.
But those numbers could be about to increase as the U.K. government ordered tenancy laws to be rewritten to make it harder for landlords to ban well-behaved animals from their properties.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick wants the government's model tenancy agreement to remove all restrictions on well-behaved pets. That model is the blueprint used by landlords to write their contracts with tenants and the move could make it easier for renters to keep pets.
“But the government’s model tenancy contracts for renters, which can be used as the basis of lease agreements made with tenants, will now be revised to remove restrictions on well-behaved pets - to ensure more landlords are catering for responsible pet owners wherever possible,” a statement by the government explained.
“The government is clear there should be a balance with responsible pet owners not being penalised and landlords being more flexible in their approach, and it is right that landlords’ properties should be protected from damage by badly behaved pets.”
It's hoped that the voluntary move will stop landlords from enforcing total bans on animals in their properties. The statement explained that bans should only be in place in smaller properties where owning a pet would be impractical.
Housing Secretary Jenrick added: “Pets bring a huge amount of joy and comfort to people’s lives, helping their owner’s through difficult times and improving their mental and physical wellbeing. So, it’s a shame that thousands of animal-loving tenants and their children can’t experience this because they rent their homes instead of owning property."
“So, I’m overhauling our model tenancy contract to encourage more landlords to consider opening their doors to responsible pet owners. And we will be listening to tenants and landlords to see what more we can do to tackle this issue in a way that is fair to both."
“This is part of this new government’s mission to improve life for tenants, recognising that more are renting and for longer in life. We’ve already taken action, banning unfair letting fees and capping tenancy deposits, saving tenants across England at least £240 million a year, and I will continue to take more steps to secure a better deal for renters up and down the country.”
While the advice is voluntary for landlords, Jenrick has not ruled out enforcing the decision with legislation if landlords don't go easier on pets.
“We will be listening to tenants and landlords to see what more we can do to tackle this issue in a way that is fair to both,” he told The Sun.