A leading veterinary body - the National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) has started a campaign to have pets allowed in private rental properties.

NOAH says the government’s new model tenancy agreement, launched early this year, leads the way for more dogs, cats and other animals to be kept responsibly by tenants.

The NOAH campaign is called ‘Securing the Right to Rent with Pets: Making One Health Housing a Reality’, and says: “Our pets are important for many reasons. They are a source of genuine companionship for many – which explains why more than 17m households own at least one pet – and being in the presence of pets has been scientifically proven to improve mental health, reducing feelings of stress, anxiety and improve our overall mood, helping to combat mental health conditions such as anxiety disorders and depression.”

NOAH claims that not being allowed in private rented accommodation means renters are denied a healthier lifestyle through better daily routines and increased cardiovascular exercise through taking a companion animal for a walk or playing with them, therefore improving physical health too.

Dawn Howard, NOAH chief executive explains: “We understand that renting with pets comes with a level of concern for landlords, whether this is perceived fear of damage to the property or badly behaved pets – however, we truly believe that widening access to pets will actually bring benefits to landlords that outweigh these often-inflated fears.

“For example, the RSPCA found tenants who are given permission to look after a pet in their rental property were likely to live in that property for twice as long compared to other tenants – creating long-term, secure tenants for landlords.

“Allowing responsibly kept pets also increases the pool of prospective renters for properties, meaning landlords are far less likely to struggle to find tenants, and will in turn have a more secure stream of income. It is these very benefits that we are keen to maximise in collaboration with landlords and housing associations, whilst ensuring we tackle any problems that could arise from pets in rented properties.”

Howard adds: “We welcome the gathering momentum in Parliament, kick-started by the amendments made to the Model Tenancy which we greatly welcome. Our campaign will seek to promote wider adoption of the updated Model Tenancy Agreement, as well as spending time understanding what other policies could support pet ownership in rented properties, to ensure both animal and human wellbeing is a priority in these rapidly evolving times.”