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Charity Urges Landlords to Rethink 'No Pets Policy'

15 May 2014

UK - A charity housing homeless cats and kittens is urging property landlords to rethink their ‘No Pets Policy’, after seeing a recent increase in the amount of animals surrendered because their owners were denied keeping them in rented accommodation.

Yorkshire Cat Rescue, which was founded over 20 years ago, has witnessed an alarming increase in the number of calls from distressed owners who have been forced to move or even been threatened with an eviction notice for keeping pets.

Sara Atkinson, founder of the charity, said: “Last year we took in 688 cats compared with 546 in 2011 and these figures don’t even tell the full story. Had we been able to accommodate more animals, we could have filled the centre three times over with the true number of homeless cats – some of which may instead have been abandoned or put to sleep.

cat"A significant proportion of the increase has come as a result of people moving into rented accommodation, often following the repossession of their home, and found that a strict No Pets Policy forces them to chose between a much-loved pet and a roof over their head.

“Many landlords implement a No Pets Policy as standard to avoid the scenario of having to replace fixtures and furniture that may have been damaged by teeth and claws. But in doing so, they are losing out on loyal tenants who often become long term customers specifically because their pets are allowed.

“Most people understand that having a cat or a dog comes with additional obligations. Few tenants would object to a dedicated pet deposit or to sign a contract which states that they must pay for any damage their animal has caused. Another alternative is to allow merely a small number of animals, such as a single cat, to avoid housing entire families of cats or dogs.”

Sara says considering applications on an individual basis instead if implementing a blanket ban would make all the difference. “An elderly couple with a single cat would for many be considered the perfect tenants and, we know, would be forever grateful if they were allowed to keep their pet. Older cats can be hard to re-home and the benefits to both are substantial.

“By speaking to prospective tenants about their pets – asking how long they have owned it for, if it has any health or behavioural problems and who will look after it when they are not home – landlords can make fair and informed decisions about whether or not to allow them, rather than simply saying outright ‘no’.”

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