Call to end ‘cruel discrimination’ of no-pets clauses in rented accommodation

Ministers have been urged to end the “cruel” discrimination of pet owners being barred from keeping animals when they move into rented accommodation.

Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell (Romford) issued the plea as he warned of the heartbreak of those who have to give up their pets when they move home.

Bringing forward his Dogs and Domestic Animals Accommodation and Protection Bill in the Commons, Mr Rosindell explained the legislation would establish rights to keep dogs and other animals in rented accommodation provided that owners can demonstrate their responsibility and care for them.

“What makes somewhere a home is something where special moments are created, living with a family, friends or companions,” Mr Rosindell told the Commons.

“Moving into a new home is a normal part of life, but what if every time you moved, you faced the threat of being separated from someone you loved.

“Can a house or a flat ever really be a home if you have been forced to abandon a family member just to be able to move in?

“And you will know more than anyone, Mr Speaker (Sir Lindsay Hoyle), as an animal-loving Speaker as you are, that animals are truly members of one’s family.

“And having owned two Staffordshire Bull terriers myself, Spike and Buster, I also know just how close the bonds can be between a dog and the owner and how devastating it can be when you lose them.”

Mr Rosindell said that the Bill would be known as Jasmine’s Law, named after a Weimaraner owned by the Adams family in Surrey.

He said: “Dogs are more than man’s best friend, they are equal members of the family and, for most people, being separated from your dog is really no different than being separated from your brother or your sister.

“But sadly, every year pet owners who move into rented accommodation are faced with the reality that their family could be torn apart because most landlords in Britain have unnecessary bans or restrictions on pet ownership.

“And for those people who depend on the companionship of their dog and who need that loving friend to be with them, especially those who live alone, such restrictions are nothing less than discrimination, cruel to both the owner and the animal alike.

“So my Bill brings an end to this discrimination, making it a right for someone to own a dog or another domestic animal to live in their rented home provided the owner demonstrates responsibility and care for the animal.”

Sir Lindsay Hoyle
Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle is a well known animal lover (UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor)

The Tory MP also highlighted the importance of pet ownership to those that are homeless when seeking accommodation.

He said: “Take the tragic case of John Chadwick, a homeless man who ended his own life after the only housing option his local council provided was one that meant separation from his pets.

“It is surely time to end (these) no-pets clauses which have caused so much pain and heartache to so many people.”

Mr Rosindell explained that a responsible ownership checklist would be required for tenants in order to help address the concerns of landlords.

He told MPs: “Of course, many landlords have legitimate concerns which I do not want to dismiss lightly.

“It is true that irresponsibly owned pets can be a cause of damage, misery and suffering to the animals themselves, to the neighbours and also to those who own and manage properties.

“We must therefore ensure that landlords concerns are met and that pet owners pass the test of responsible ownership by obtaining a certificate from a vet before moving in, confirming that they have a healthy, well-behaved animal and are considered to be a responsible owner.

“With a dog, a responsible ownership checklist would include being vaccinated and micro-chipped and is responsive to basic training commands, with appropriate rules applying of course to other animals.”

He added: “I hope that landlords and local authorities and housing associations listening to this debate today will consider overhauling their current policies in favour of one along the lines laid out in this Bill.”

The Conservative MP requested that the Bill be read a second time on January 29 2021, however it would require Government support if it is to progress.