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Ask the Expert, Jackie Monro, FARLA, FNAEA, Balfours head of lettings

Someone told me the government’s Model Tenancy Agreement MTA, has been updated to allow tenants to keep pets by default. Does this mean landlords are legally obliged to allow pets?

The short answer is no. The MTA is an option for landlords in England, but has no force by law, at present. The MTA has been updated to be in line with changes to the Renters’ Reform Bill; however, this bill has been indefinitely delayed due to Covid-19.

The issue for many landlords, perhaps isn’t so much about allowing pets or not; rather protecting their asset from damage, wear and tear caused by pets.

Before the Tenant Fee Ban, landlords who allowed pets, increased tenancy deposits to mitigate potential damage. With deposits in England now limited to five weeks rent, landlords no longer have this option, though Welsh landlords do. According to government figures only 7% of landlords advertised their property as suitable for pets; yet there has been a sea change in pet ownership as more people work from home.

There are tenants who will pay a higher monthly rental to enable them to have a pet. What you must consider is if that is enough to cover the additional wear and tear and if the garden and public spaces are suited to the addition of pets.

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