The Government recently published a new white paper aimed at ensuring millions of families can live in decent, well looked-after homes as part of the biggest shake up of the private rental sector in 30 years.
Setting forth dramatic reforms to make renting properties fairer, the paper hopes to end the injustice of unfit homes and help protect tenants from the rising cost of living. Included in the 80-page document are measures championed by Dr Neil Hudson MP, to give all tenants the right to request a pet in their house, which the landlord must consider and cannot unreasonably refuse
The white paper marks a generational shift that will redress the balance between landlords and 4.4 million private rented tenants. It bans section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions, ends arbitrary rent review clauses that enable unjustified rent increases and makes it illegal for landlords to have blanket bans on renting to families with children or those in receipt of benefits.
The majority of tenants enjoy safe and secure rentals, but for the 21% of private renter and households who currently live in unfit homes, this ‘New Deal’ will extend the Decent Homes Standard to the private sector for the first time. This means homes must be free from serious health and safety hazards, and landlords must keep homes in a good state of repair so renters have clean, appropriate and useable facilities.
This is part of the Government’s wider reform agenda to improve lives and level up the country, delivering more housing and greater protections for tenants and homeowners.
Earlier this year Dr Hudson joined a cross-party group of more than 35 MPs and Peers, working with leading pet charities and landlord associations, to pen an open letter to Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities, and Local Government, urging him to make it easier for responsible tenants to keep pets in rental accommodation.
He also spoke in Parliament on the issue in December – pointing to the physical and mental health benefits that responsible pet ownership can have on people and animals. He said that landlords should not be a barrier to pet-ownership and the rewards it can bring.
Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Border, said: “These are a landmark set of reforms that will go a long way in making life better and fairer for anyone renting in the UK. At the end of the day people’s homes should be theirs to live in and enjoy, not designed as a handy income stream for others – this white paper understands that.
“Bringing renting legislation into the 21st century, this will mean more rights for tenants, better quality homes and more money left in people’s bank accounts at the end of the month.
“Furthermore, as a vet and an animal-lover, I know just how important the bond is between people and their animals. As such, I am delighted the Government has acted to make it easier for people to stay with their beloved pets in rented accommodation. I’ve been campaigning on this issue for a while now, backed by research showing the negative impact current laws have on pets in rented accommodation, so it really is pleasing to see action on the issue.
“I know personally the benefits of keeping pets. Getting out into the countryside with my dog Juno near my home in Brampton or even just letting her curl up next to me can have a tremendous impact on my wellbeing, and Juno’s! – more people should be able to enjoy this kind of love with their furry or feathered companions."