‘No Pet’ Covenants and the Law

The use of ‘no pet’ covenants in private rental housing is a contentious subject in the UK and many other countries. In a new article by Dr. Debbie Rook and Prof. Brinda Jegatheesan, members of the International Steering Group on Pets & Housing initiated by SCAS, a Harm Assessment approach is proposed to the use of ‘no pet’ covenants in private rental housing. 

The covenants can be harmful to tenants because they prevent people and their pets from living together. But prohibiting use of the covenants may be harmful to landlords who cannot then prevent animals living in the property they own. This article examines the use of ‘no pet’ covenants in private rental housing through the lens of harm. It proposes using a Harm Assessment approach that balances the harms to various stakeholders in both the use and restriction of ‘no pet’ covenants. In balancing the harm, it takes into account the character, magnitude and likelihood of the harm. This is especially important because domesticated animals are deemed property at law, but many people perceive their companion animals as family members meaning they suffer devastating loss when forced to relinquish their pets when moving into rental housing that restricts or prohibits pets.

The Harm Assessment approach acknowledges this whilst also taking any harm to the landlord’s interests into account and suggesting alternative strategies for addressing this harm. The approach has application globally and it is hoped it will promote better legal regulation of ‘no pet’ covenants in rental housing.

Read the full (open access) article here

SCAS continues to make increasing access to pet-friendly housing a priority through original research, education and advocacy. To learn more check out the SCAS Pets in Housing Webpage, or read SCAS news items and updates on the subject of Pets in Housing.

Dr. Luciana Santos de Assis has published a brochure for landlords based on her SCAS-funded research, which is free to download here.

Follow us on FB and Twitter (@SCASuk), and be sure to retweet posts from us and our partners on #PetsInHousing

SCAS is the UK’s leading human-companion animal bond organisation through funding research, providing education, raising awareness, encouraging best practice, and influencing the development of policies and practices that support the human-companion animal bond. For more details check out our website at www.scas.org.uk

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