A number of housing policies and practices prohibit the inclusion of pets in residential dwellings.
This is often due to:
- a lack of understanding on the behalf of landlords of the importance of pets for people’s well-being
Many older people feel they have no choice but to give up their four-legged friends when moving into residential care or sheltered accommodation.
- the misunderstanding that pets are a potential source of nuisance and disease, that the dwelling will be overrun with pets
- little awareness of how to introduce responsible pet policies that protect the interests of all residents, staff and management
The result is a shortage of suitable accommodation for many pet-owning families, who are sometimes forced to keep pets without the consent of their landlord, or live in unsuitable accommodation. Many pet owners experience much anxiety and heartache in these situations, particularly if they are faced with no other option but to rehome their companion animal.
Private renting with pets
Dogs Trust has produced a very useful resource for pet owners, landlords and letting agents on rented accommodation suitable for pets. Visit Lets with Pets for top tips and advice.
Social housing – advice for housing providers
Through the Pet Advisory Committee (PAC) and Pathway, a number of member organisations have joined forces to address this issue and provide important information to housing providers about operating workable pet policies. In 2010, a free copy of Guidelines on Pet Management for Housing Providers was sent to every Local Authority and Housing Association in the UK and is available to download at www.petadvisory.org.uk.
Older people in residential care and sheltered accommodation
A recent report commissioned by SCAS and the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA),‘Pets and older people in residential care’, revealed that many older people feel they have no choice but to give up their four-legged friends when moving into residential care or sheltered accommodation. This can cause great distress at a time when an older person is already feeling vulnerable.
Through our ‘Pets for Life’ campaign, SCAS wants to ensure that all leading UK housing providers implement responsible pet policies that enable older people to make an informed choice about their future. So far the campaign has secured cross-parliamentary party support with the most recent activity being centred around a Private Members Bill led by Nigel Waterson MP. Read more on our Pets for Life campaign pages.