Time to end blanket ban on pets in rented homes

Senator Mark Wall
28 February 2023

Labour Senator Mark Wall has said it’s past time to end the blanket ban on pets in rented accommodation.

The Dogs Trust has reported an 80% surge over the past three years in people having to give up their pets as they cannot be homed in rented spaces.

Senator Wall said this is a huge issue for people with autism who have a support dog living in rented accommodation in particular.

Senator Wall said:

“We need to take a common sense approach to all matters on housing. While affordability, security and supply are without a doubt the more pressing issues facing renters, I have been inundated with correspondences from people who are being asked to give up their pet when moving into a new rented home.

“This is an issue affecting so many renters, from single people to families who want the company and companionship of a pet in their home. I’ve been particularly struck by a number of elderly people who have contacted my office. Many are asked to give up their beloved pet when moving into supported living situations. We can’t have a situation where people feel they have to take the risk of turning down a home rather than giving up their beloved cat or dog. It’s unfair, when with the flick of a pen, Government could end this blanket ban.

“As a member of the Autism Committee, I am deeply conscious of the benefit that pets can have to support people with autism. Unfortunately, I am aware of a number of cases where families with support dogs who are accessing the HAP scheme are having huge difficulties moving into a new home that accommodates pets. We need landlords to take into account all circumstances and agree to having pets in rented homes where it is suitable.

“We shouldn’t have a bizarre situation where people are asked to choose between a roof over their head or their family pet. Anyone with a pet knows that they are a member of the family, and whether you own your home or are renting your home, pets should be treated the same.

“The Dogs Trust said they’ve received over 300 requests to rehome dogs in January alone. This is a very distressing thing for any animal owner to have to go through. Anyone with a pet knows that they are a member of the family, and whether you own your home or are renting your home, pets should be treated the same.  No one wants to give up their pet but the market is so tight that landlords have all the say. Renting needs to work for people, but right now, it simply is not.

“When it comes to housing, Government consistently fails to take a common sense approach to the issues that affect people – like having pets in rented accommodation. As well as addressing affordability, security and supply in the market, Labour’s Renters’ Rights Bill would end the blanket ban on pets in rented accommodation and bring Ireland’s rental rights into the 21st century.

“In 2021, the UK Housing Minister introduced a Model Tenancy Agreement which ended the blanket pet ban – landlords must only ban animals where there is good reason, such as in smaller properties or flats where it may be impractical.

“Minister O’Brien has the power to implement the same change here. Of course, landlords would be able to say no in cases where the property is unsuitable, but we need to see more flexibility on this.

“Pets play a huge role in many people’s lives. They provide companionship and emotional support, enhancing overall wellbeing. They’re our friends and our family. With a greater number of people renting now than ever before, we have to explore ways that allow responsible owners have their pets and companions in their rented homes. Renting needs to work for people.”

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