We have changed our approach to how we support pet ownership in our properties.
We are pioneering our animal-loving colleagues as pet champions, supporting our new approach of responsible pet ownership by consent. This move follows the government’s decision to introduce changes in the rental market which permit customers to keep well-behaved pets. The government announced its recommended contract for landlords in January.
Our Regional Manager of Neighbourhoods, Julie Bingham, said: “Our customers are our priority and we care about the things that matter to them, this includes their pets.
“We have pulled together a team of colleagues from across the business who love animals, and who alongside their normal job roles, will ensure that customers have all the information they need to care for their pets without impacting on other customers.”
Changes to the government recommended Model Tenancy Agreement mean that consent for pets will now be the default position - making it easier for customers with pets to find rented accommodation.
Julie Bingham added: “We know how much joy pets can bring into people’s lives and how they positively affect mental health.
“It’s not always anticipated that a new pet in the home can create unexpected issues but sometimes it does. Particularly when customers live in flatted accommodation where it would not be appropriate to consent to more than one dog or cat. The issues could range from the number, size and type of pets, and their needs.
“The last thing we want to do is separate owners from their pets. So, we want to ensure that we make all the necessary assessments and work with partner agencies where we receive concerns.
“Our pet champions are there to promote responsible pet ownership by helping customers with a range of issues, from appeals and disputes about their pets, to matters concerning pet health and welfare.”
Recently, when 84 of our customers had to be evacuated from their homes after an unexploded World War Two bomb was found in Exeter, our pet champions were on hand to support customers whose pets had been left behind.
Our Housing Officer, Chris Inman, said: “We didn’t anticipate that the evacuation would last as long as it did. Some of our customers’ pets were left at home which caused understandable distress.
“Our customers are like family and we did whatever we could to make sure their pets were looked after during this period. Some pets were temporarily rehomed in catteries and kennels. We also returned to properties that could be accessed safely, to feed other pets.”
Julie Bingham added: “Responsible pet ownership might not always mean the same thing to everyone. So, we always want to make sure to act within the guidelines in the best interest of both the customer and their pet.”
Register your pet with us here