In this article we will consider future developments in the law as it affects tenants as pet owners and, in particular, what has been referred to as “Jasmine’s Law”.
Jasmine was the name of a pet dog – a Weimaraner – who lived with her owner in a spacious flat, with plenty of green space nearby; an ideal home for pet and owner. However, the owner’s lease included a “no pet” clause and, as a result, Jasmine had to be separated, staying with another family member. As a result of the pandemic, Jasmine’s owner was not allowed to visit, leaving both of them quite isolated.
The Dogs and Domestic Animals (Accommodation and Protection) Bill, nicknamed “Jasmine’s Law”, has been introduced to Parliament and is currently awaiting a date for its second reading in the House of Commons.
The Bill seeks to establish rights to keep dogs and other animals in domestic accommodation, so long as their owners can demonstrate they will care for them properly. To do so, the pet owner would need to obtain a Certificate of Responsible Animal Guardianship from a qualified vet.
Whilst the bill is still in its early stages, should it become law in its current form there would be a right to keep pets in domestic accommodation, regardless of what any existing tenancy or lease states; statute would trump private contractual arrangements.
However, Jasmine’s Law is not unqualified good news for pet owners, since, as currently drafted, it contains exceptions for short term rented or temporary accommodation where the owner does not hold a certificate for responsible animal guardianship, or the landlord holds an exemption certificate. An exemption certificate can be issued where the landlord (or another tenant) has a religious or medical reason to not come into contact with a domestic pet or because the accommodation is deemed unsuitable for pets.
The bill will be subject to debate and, presumably, amendment; moreover, it’s progress in Parliament is delayed due to the impact of COVID-19. However, if it does ultimately pass, it may strike the right balance of allowing responsible tenants to keep well behaved pets whilst safeguarding the interests of landlords and other tenants.
For more information about pet ownership in leased housing and other property related disputes, please speak to: