Labour plan measures to make it a ‘default right’ for tenants to keep pets in rented homes

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
Labour want tenant to have a default right to keep pets at home (Rex)

Labour have put forward proposals to make it a “default right” for tenants living in rented properties to own a pet.

Under the 2015 Consumer Rights Act, landlords can draw up rental agreements that insist on no animals being allowed on the property if they believe it will result in damage to the property.

However, Labour want to boost rights for renters by enabling them to be able to keep pets unless it can be proved they will be a nuisance.

The party say the proposal was due to the increasing number of people having to rent well into their 30s and beyond.

Currently landlords can insist on no animals in the property in the tenancy agreement (Rex)

Richard Lambert, the chief executive of the National Landlords Association said “tenants who keep pets do tend to stay for longer periods of time, and there are a few simple steps that landlords can take in order to mitigate the perceived increased risks”.

One of those steps would be a higher deposit but Labour want to discuss their plans with landlords and tenant bodies.

The pets on rented property plans make up part of a 50-point animal welfare draft policy document that also sets out plans to strengthen the Hunting Act to prevent illegal fox hunting, and enshrine the principle that animals are sentient in law as the UK leaves the European Union.

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A ban on exporting animals for slaughter, an end to the badger cull and expanding affordable vet care for pet owners on low incomes have also been proposed.

As well as working with organisations such as PDSA to expand accessibility to affordable vet care, the proposals include exploring the potential for elderly and disabled people who move into care homes to keep their pets.

Other measures proposed by Labour include mandatory labelling of domestic and imported meat including country of origin and production and slaughter methods, as it seeks to set out its position as the “party of animal welfare”.

Landlords would have to prove that the animals would be a nuisance under Labour’s plans (Rex)

Shadow environment secretary Sue Hayman said: “From bringing in the ban on fox hunting to tightening the rules on the transport of live animals, Labour has always been consistent in our leadership on matters of animal welfare.

“Today we’re making proposals for real, long-term progress.

“Our vision is one where no animal is made to suffer unnecessary pain and we continue to drive up standards and practice in line with the most recent advances and understanding.”

An end to the badger cull is also among the proposals (PA)

The Tories say Labour are “belatedly playing catch-up” with Government policies on animal welfare.

Conservative MP Steve Double  added: ”Labour wouldn’t even be able to deliver some of these promises because they want to keep following EU rules after Brexit.

“From introducing mandatory CCTV into slaughterhouses to increasing the maximum sentence for animal cruelty 10-fold, the Conservatives will continue taking the action needed to ensure animals receive the proper protection they deserve.”