Creating a simple solution to pet discrimination

Published on: Tuesday, 2nd March 2021
Jennifer Berezai

Many lettings agents include a “no pets” clause in their rental agreement, which means that pet owners can struggle to find a home where they can live with their animal. 

In some cases they have been forced to give up their pets before moving and with more people than ever renting the problem is getting worse. 

A newly–published report by the Long Eaton based charity AdvoCATS suggests the most sensible way to solve the UK’s pet accommodation renting problem is to require tenants to take out pet insurance before moving into a property.

“Understandingly, landlords are concerned over recouping any cost of damages caused to their property by pets, costs that in some instances had run into the thousands,“ explained Jennifer Berezai, author of the "Heads for Tails" report.

"A business problem requires a business solution: if the problem is the possibility of pet damage, then pet damage insurance answers that problem,” added Jennifer, who is a co-founder of the AdvoCATS charity. 

“Amending the list of permitted payments under the Tenant Fees Act 2019 would be a simple but highly effective way of increasing the availability of pet-friendly rented accommodation. Currently, restrictions placed on landlords by the Tenant Fees Act, is effectively banning landlords from requiring such cover.”

According to research carried out by YouGov and funded by SCAS (Society for Companion Animal Studies) for the report: “Some 53% of pet owners, including 57% among dog owners and 55% among cat owners respectively, indicated that they would be willing to pay for specialised pet insurance, if priced reasonably to them and required by a landlord.”

In a foreword to the report, MP for Romford, Andrew Rosindell, who has been campaigning for the right to keep a pet in rented accommodation to become law, commented: “My Ten Minute Rule Bill would make pet-ownership a right, under certain conditions.  However, I am also acutely aware of the need to explore other policy options for easing the pain of renters.  That’s why I am delighted to support this important work by Jen Berezai of AdvoCATS, a key supporter of my campaign over the past months.” 

AdvoCATSeastmids is a non-profit voluntary organisation which provides a free practical support and advice service to tenants and landlords where there are issues with keeping pets in rented properties.  The Heads for Tails report can be downloaded from its web site.

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