Labour: renters should have the right to own a pet 'by default'

Tenants should be allowed to keep pets in rented properties ‘by default’, the Labour party has announced in a raft of new animal welfare measures.

On Wednesday, the party promised to do more to allow people who don’t own their own home to keep their pets when they move, without being hindered by landlords’ red tape.

Labour also wants people on low incomes to get help with vet’s bills for their pet.

Labour’s new pledges follow a series of high profile announcements from the Conservative party including banning the sale of puppies in pet shops.

The 50 pledges made by Labour are billed as an attempt to remind the UK that they are still “the party of animal welfare.”

Dee McIntosh of Battersea Cats and Dogs Home told the Standard: “Battersea welcomes the Labour Party’s proposal to make it easier for people in rented accommodation to own pets.

“Sadly, here at Battersea we see many cases of dogs and cats coming through our doors because their owners are moving into rented accommodation and are not allowed to take their animals.

“Battersea would like to see many more local authorities and housing associations having more pet-friendly tenancy agreements.”

The new measure would see more people able to keep their pets when moving into a rented property instead of having to give them up.

But some industry experts are reluctant to welcome the proposal.

Richard Lambert, CEO at the National Landlords Association (NLA) said many landlords choose not to allow pets in rented homes due to the damage they can cause to a property.

He said: “You can’t take a blanket approach to keeping or refusing pets. The NLA has consistently supported schemes that encourage landlords to take on pet owners, such as the Dog’s Trust’s ‘Lets With Pets’, but landlords should have a right to refuse permission so long as they justify their decision. For example, common properties in the PRS, such as high rise flats or those without gardens, may simply not be suitable for keeping some animals nor beneficial to their welfare.

“However, 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, such as by inserting specific clauses and policies into their tenancy agreements”.

Animal charity searches for UK’s fattest pets

Labour’s animal welfare proposal also called for the ban of  exporting animals to be slaughtered, ending the badger cull and banning foie gras completely.

Sue Hayman MP, Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary said: “Labour is the party of animal welfare. 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.

“With new trade deals on the horizon and the UK no longer subject to EU-wide rules on animal welfare, we want to ensure there is a comprehensive legislative agenda in place so that the UK becomes a world leader on animal rights.”

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