28th January 2021 **Press release**

Model Tenancy Agreement to be made pet friendly in major win for "A Pet in Every Home" campaign

The Model Tenancy Agreement has been changed to make it easier for tenants with well-behaved pets to find rented accommodation, in what is being described as a "massive acknowledgement to Andrew Rosindell's already successful campaign for Jasmine's Law."

 

The announcement by Housing Minister, The Rt. Hon. Chris Pincher M.P., came while Andrew Rosindell was live on BBC Radio 2's Jeremy Vine Show, discussing his campaign.

 

Under the new Model Tenancy Agreement, landlords will no longer be able to issue blanket bans on pets. Instead, consent for pets will be the default position and landlords will have to object in writing within 28 days of a written pet request from a tenant and provide a good reason.
 

The new agreement incorporates a number of elements proposed by Andrew Rosindell's campaign and its associated legislation, including the concept of "responsible ownership". The new agreement also includes the requirement that any landlords turning down pets in their accommodation must provide a good reason, which was a key component of Andrew’s campaign.

 

The Model Tenancy Agreement acts as a guideline, or a template and is not legally binding. Andrew Rosindell has said that the campaign to turn these proposals into law "must continue."

 

On the 26th of February, the M.P. will be hosting an event on Zoom to discuss the legislation he is proposing, and the importance of pets during lockdown. He will be joined by guests including Anna Webb, the broadcaster, dog trainer and nutritionist; Dr Elizabeth Ormorod from the Society of Companion Animal Studies; Sarah Dixon from FOAL Group; Gabby Kuehn from PAAW House, and others.

 

The Ten Minute Rule Bill introduced by Andrew Rosindell, dubbed "Jasmine's Law" after a Weimaraner from Surrey, had its First Reading in the House of Commons in October 2020.

 

Andrew Rosindell M.P. said:

 

"This is a significant step. As the Housing Minister made clear in his statement, blanket bans on pets are 'unfair' and these changes are clear indications that the Government recognises the extent of the problem. I am delighted to have played a role in securing this change..

 

Nevertheless, the Model Tenancy Agreement is just a template. It is not legally binding. Consequently, this campaign must continue, and we must turn these proposals into law to ensure a pet in every home."


 

Rachel Williams, Senior Parliamentary Advisor for the RSPCA said:

 

"This news is a big step forward for pet owning renters. The RSPCA has long been urging the Government to amend their model agreement and it's fantastic to see that they have finally done so. This new agreement makes it clear that pet friendly accommodation should be considered the rule, not the exception. 


The RSPCA believes that responsible pet ownership can bring huge benefits to animal and owner alike and we encourage all landlords to use the new model agreement with their tenants. As many existing pet friendly landlords will testify, pet owners can be some of the best tenants. And with landlords' support in encouraging responsible pet ownership measures through their tenancy agreements we could see real progress in animal welfare too."

 

Sarah Dixon, Director of FOAL Group said:

 

"We are delighted that the Government have listened and updated their model tenancy agreement. We congratulate Andrew Rosindell MP and fellow campaigners for tackling this issue. Responsible pet owners should not be excluded from the rental market. Our pets are such fundamental members of our families. Devoted owners, like John Chadwick, should not be forced to give up their loyal furry friends in order to be approved for accommodation. The announcement today, is not only welcome, it is morally right."  

 

Gabby Kuehn, Founder of PAAW House said:

 

"We are delighted with today's government announcement of changes to the model tenancy agreement, in favour of renters with well-behaved pets. It's a massive acknowledgement to Andrew Rosindell's already successful campaign for Jasmine’s Law. 

 

As someone who experienced the heartache of pet discrimination & spoken to many others in similar circumstances it’s fantastic to see our government recognise the importance of the human animal bond and take steps to promote tolerance for those who consider their pets as family."


 

Becky Thwaites, Head of Public Affairs at Blue Cross said:

 

“Blue Cross warmly welcomes the new Model Tenancy Agreement stating that landlords can no longer issue blanket bans on keeping pets. We know that this is an issue of great concern to responsible pet owners, many of whom are placed in the traumatic position of having to give up their well-behaved pet due to a change in their circumstances. We believe this will mean pet owners will be able to enjoy the benefits of pet ownership irrespective of their housing situation.”

 

 

Jen Berezai, Co-founder of AdvoCATS said:

 

"AdvoCATS welcomes the new Model Tenancy Agreement announced today, a victory for all those who have campaigned for change. Now, responsible pet owning tenants, many of whom have previously been forced to choose between their pet vs a roof over their heads, will be able to keep their family together."

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October 2020

 

We were delighted to be approached by Andrew Rosindell MP in connection with the Dogs and Domestic Animals (Accommodation and Protection) Bill. Andrew presented the First Reading to the House of Commons on 14 October 2020 as a Ten Minute Rule Bill. This Bill, to be known as Jasmine’s Law seeks to limit the use of “no pet” policies in rental agreements. 


Currently a blanket “no pet” policy takes no account of the behaviour of the pet or the responsibility of the owner. Some Landlords are not even aware that their template rental agreements offered by their letting agent contain such a clause. 
The effect of being forced to surrender your pet to secure accommodation is utterly devastating and can be a wholly unreasonable condition. 


The campaign is not suggesting that there should be a blanket “all pets welcome” policy either as there are circumstances where it would be entirely reasonable for there to be a “no pet” clause. The campaign is suggesting that all parties should be reasonable in their expectations and demands based on the circumstances of each rental. 


We are incredibly pleased to add our voices and support to this campaign. 

14 February 2022


Campaigning is a curious beast. This campaign is a perfect example of how campaigns evolve.  
Andrew Rosindell MP’s campaign to make it unlawful for Landlords to include a blanket ban on pets in their properties, did not proceed. What it did do is raise sufficient interest and awareness that this has opened the door to various discussions with major stakeholders. 


We were delighted to receive an update from Dee Bonett that Maidstone Council have amended their policy regarding the housing for homeless people who have pets. Further, the new policy is named the John Chadwick Pet Policy in memory of Dee’s friend who tragically took his own life after being forbidden from taking his pets into emergency accommodation, provided by the Local Authority.  The #JohnChadwickPetPolicy.

No responsible pet owner should be placed into this impossible dilemma and we are hopeful that other Local Authorities will follow the leading example set by Maidstone Council.

 

Throughout #JaminesLaw, Andrew consulted with many major stakeholders about possible solutions to protect the interests of Landlords and at the same time, avoid punishing responsible pet owning tenants, one of which being @Advocats. We are pleased to have been able to contribute to discussions and considerations of legalities to the ongoing campaigning being lead by @AdvoCats. This campaign is now called #HeadsForTails and we will continue to support this campaign as it strives to find a feasible solution. Currently, they are involved in collecting data, the results of which are anticipated late Spring/ Early Summer 2022. 
We note also that recently some of the major stakeholders have publicly added their voices to the call to review no pet policies applied by some Landlords. 

 


We must also congratulate Andrew Rosindell MP on his successful stewardship of his Bill to introduce Animals (Penalty Notices) Bill for minor animal welfare offences. There will always be cases where there are animal welfare concerns where a full criminal prosecution would not be appropriate but where the issues identified need to be addressed. This Bill will not only fill that gap in accountability but it will also provide an opportunity to offer people guidance and support if they are struggling with understanding the responsibilities towards the animals under their guardianship.  It is currently sitting in the House of Lords waiting for a date for the Second Reading.

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