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16 February 2018updated 09 Sep 2021 5:12pm

All the reasons why we need to change the law on renting with pets

In a time of loneliness, pets should be fur the many, not the few.

By Danielle Rowley

Sadly, it’s not news that many in my generation are going to struggle to match the material wealth of our parents and grandparents’ generations.

But while the prospect of buying property remains an unattainable dream for many of us so called millennials, it’s becoming clear that we are missing out on some of the everyday pleasures of home ownership too.

Labour are committed to tackling the housing crisis, through measures such as ensuring rights to affordable, well-maintained and safe properties on secure tenancies. But as well as this, our Animal Welfare Plan announced this week will improve tenants’ quality of life too.

The right to keep a pet is something many people take for granted. We all recognise the positive impact pet ownership can have on mental health, not to mention the structure, purpose and responsibility looking after an animal can give. Yet many rental properties specifically prohibit keeping a pet.

There’s no doubt that given the chance, many would jump at the chance to care for a furry companion, but unless they have the privilege of owning a property, most are unable to do so.

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It’s all very well the Tories appointing a “Minister for Loneliness” and identifying some of the problems caused by the isolation of modern life. But Labour is prepared to enshrine the right to this proven remedy in law.

I know that people – young and old – share Labour’s concerns about weaknesses in the legislation to curb blood sports. The Animal Welfare Plan seeks to remedy this as well as ending the badger cull, undertaking a review of animal testing and banning live exports for slaughter.

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All of this is extremely important, but I see the right for tenants to own a pet being more widely talked about in my peer group. From a two-legged millennial perspective, it is our inability as tenants to be able to own pets that is the constant reminder of our frustrated ambitions to own anything – yet another reminder that we are Generation Rent. It is only fair that such a basic desire – to care for a pet – should be “fur” the many, not the few.

Danielle Rowley is the Labour MP for Midlothian.