THE RSPCA has backed a new petition launched by a Flintshire councillor which calls for an end to blanket bans on keeping pets in Wales’ private rented sector.

Sam Swash, a Labour councillor for Mancot ward on Hawarden Community Council, has launched a petition called ‘Ban the use of ‘no pet clauses’ in tenancy agreements in Wales’.

The petition is collecting signatures until late April and has already passed the first threshold required to be considered by the Senedd’s Petitions Committee, collecting ver 300 signatures to date.

RSPCA Cymru is now urging others in Wales to follow suit and sign the petition to support those with pets looking for a home in the private rented sector.

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This July, the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 comes into force - which is reforming the rented sector in Wales; including through the provision of contracts, how properties are maintained and communication between landlords and tenants.

However, despite the Welsh Government publishing a draft of documentation in recent months related to the new law, there remains no specific references to preventing blanket bans on pets. 

While allowing pets is a matter for landlords, the RSPCA wants to see the Welsh Government ensure that, through model agreements, consent for pets becomes the default position, which is routinely promoted to landlords.

The situation in Wales is presently less favourable to pet owners than in England - where a Government led model tenancy agreement, introduced in January 2021, encourages landlords to allow pets as a default, unless exceptional circumstances exist.

Speaking about why he decided to start the petition, Cllr Swash said: “As a resident of a North Wales village that is next to the English border, it struck me as being totally unfair that being allowed to keep a pet in rented accommodation can be dependent on something as simple as which part of the UK you happen to live in.

“It is really disappointing that Wales still allows blanket no pet clauses when the UK Government has already acted to remove them from tenancy agreements in England. Being able to keep a pet should not be a luxury for those lucky enough to own their own house.”

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Billie-Jade Thomas, RSPCA public affairs adviser said: “With Wales commonly - and correctly - recognised as ‘a nation of animal lovers’, it is surprising that we still continue to lag behind when it comes to requiring landlords not to place blanket bans on pets in rented accommodation.

“I have experienced first-hand how difficult finding a rental property that accepts pets is for myself, with ‘no pets’ clauses a common sight on adverts. Companion animals play an important role in improving their owners' mental health and wellbeing, while helping to reduce loneliness.

"This raises questions about whether it is fair to deprive tenants of these benefits because they rent, rather than own, their properties “With the competition and demand for rental properties particularly high at the moment, action against unjustified no-pets clauses is urgently needed, and it is vital that the Welsh Government gives this issue the attention it deserves while making improvements to the rental industry in Wales.”

RSPCA Cymru is joined in its support for the petition by Senedd Member Carolyn Thomas MS.

The North Wales MS added: “Being a tenant in rented accommodation shouldn’t mean that you are excluded from being able to keep a pet. As a pet owner myself, I know just how important pets are to families across Wales.

“Unfortunately, the situation here in Wales is currently more restrictive to pet-owning tenants than it is in England and that is not acceptable. I am hopeful that this petition will encourage the Welsh Government to ban the use of no pet clauses in Wales.”

To sign the petition, which has collected over 300 signatures to date, click here.