Pet rules in Renters Reform Bill to drive rent rises

Three-quarters of landlords want to raise rents in the face of the new Renter’s Reform Bill, which is set to change landlords’ abilities to refuse pets.

Three in five (60%) landlords would take out insurance to cover pet damage — the price of which would also need to be paid for with higher rents, a poll from buy-to-let broker Mortgages for Business has found.

Meanwhile a sixth (17%) of landlords said they would make no changes to their business-model but would increase rents.

Jeni Browne, director of Mortgages for Business, said: “Government statistics suggest only 7% of landlords currently market their properties as ‘pet-friendly’.

“This is not an accident. It’s expensive to be a landlord to tenants with pets: they can damage properties and lower the market value of a property, too.

“As such, it’s reasonable to refuse tenants with pets — it keeps costs down.

“So an important unintended consequence of the ill-conceived Renters Reform Bill is that three-quarter of landlords are going to be forced to jack-up rents for all tenants in case some of them have a pet.

“No wonder Michael Gove is backtracking over half of it already.

“This legislation will be fabulous for the minority of tenants who are actually pet-owners — but it’s not a great look for a government that’s supposed to be helping tenants in the face of a cost of living crisis.”

When asked about deposit sizes, half of landlords (50%) said they would increase the size of tenants’ deposit to help to cover the costs of any potential damage caused.

A 2022 report found that 85% of landlords and letting agents have incurred pet damage to their properties — with 57% unable to recoup the costs of damage caused by pets.

Under the new bill, landlords will not be able to ‘unreasonably’ refuse requests for keeping pets.

If a landlord does not want to allow the tenant to keep pets, they must now object in writing within 28 days of a written request from the tenant and provide a ‘good reason’ for the refusal.

Labour’s proposed Renters’ Charter also amends landlords’ rights to refuse pets.

The obvious presence of pets can devalue a home by almost 5% — with owners set to sacrifice £13,911 when selling the property as a result.