Hope for cat lovers: Campaign to see renters rejoice as landlords urged to end no pet rule

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Hope for cat lovers: Campaign to see renters rejoice as landlords urged to end no pet rule

Almost a half of all rented accommodation has a block on cats, helping to create an animal welfare crisis for pet charities. Cats Protection says issues over finding cat-friendly housing has been one of the top five reasons for much-loved pets being handed into its rescue centres over the past year. Today the country’s leading feline charity is launching a new campaign to help people living in rented property own a pet cat with all the correct paperwork. It will be offering free advice to landlords and letting agencies so that tenancy agreements reflect modern-day living with the positive health and happiness advantages that come through pet ownership.

Transforming old-fashioned housing arrangements will help prevent tragic stories like those of Dilys Barnes and her partner Steve who were forced to give up their much-loved Buster.

The couple are supporting the new campaign after handing over Buster to Cats Protection earlier this summer when their landlord sold his property and they were unable to find a rented house which allowed cats.

Ms Barnes, from Gorleston, Norfolk said: “Every single advert we saw said ‘no pets’ and whenever we enquired, the answer was always no.

“We were devastated, and the whole thing was very traumatic. We loved him dearly, yet had to give him away, very much against our wishes.

“It seems so unfair, as he was our pet and no bother at all. We really miss him.

"I love cats, but I now find it very hard to stroke one when I see one in the street – it’s almost as if I’m too scared to get attached or enjoy their company as I know I cannot have my own pet cat.”

While Cats Protection research shows only 42 percent of private rented housing allows cats, nine out of ten tenants who are allowed to have the animals say it has positive effects by providing company or improving mental health.

To help landlords, the charity is providing online assistance with free, downloadable legal wording for tenancy agreements that sets out simple conditions on cat ownership which helps both them and their tenants.

Jacqui Cuff, Cats Protection’s head of advocacy and government relations, said: “More and more people are renting their homes either by choice or necessity, yet very few rented properties accept cats.

"This means tenants are missing out on being able to own a cat, while landlords may be losing out on attracting responsible and settled tenants.

“We hear from renters who tell us most adverts state ‘no pets’. Often, the reason for not allowing cats is simply habit, with a third of landlords who don’t accept cats saying they didn’t proactively choose to ban cats, but instead followed a standard template or advice from a letting agent.

“The aim of Cats Protection’s Purrfect Landlords campaign is to transform renting so that responsible cat ownership benefits both landlords and tenants: happy landlords, happy tenants, happy cats.”

Using terms such as “pets considered” when advertising helps landlords stay in control and make decisions on renting after they have met potential tenants. Similarly, downloadable cat clauses that can be added to tenancy agreements – such as requirements for cats to be neutered, vaccinated and microchipped – will also help ensure pets are in good health and unlikely to become problems.

Ms Cuff added: “The reality is that cats very rarely cause problems for landlords. In actual fact, many cat owners tell us that having a cat is what makes their house a home and helps them put down roots and value the home they’re living in.”

For more information, please visit www.cats.org.uk/purrfectlandlords

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