Romford MP leading charge to ban 'no pets' clauses in rented homes

Romford MP presents landmark pets in every home law

Romford MP Andrew Rosindell presented his A Pet in Every Home campaign at a virtual event on the day Jasmine's Law was meant to have its second parliamentary reading. - Credit: Andrew Rosindell

The MP for Romford is leading the charge to ban blanket "no pets" clauses in rented accommodation and leaseholds in England.

Andrew Rosindell has brought forward a bill known as Jasmine's Law, which if passed, will mean renters are no longer forced to sacrifice having a pet.

Friday, February 26 was scheduled as the day for this bill's second reading, but the suspension of Friday sessions at the House of Commons meant this was impossible.

To ensure Jasmine's Law would "receive the debate and the consideration it deserves", Mr Rosindell decided to have a '"de facto" virtual reading, where the bill was pored over by two separate panels.

His campaign - dubbed A Pet in Every Home - began in October, after the self-confessed animal lover was approached by the owner of Weimaraner dog Jasmine.

Romford MP new law on no pets clauses

Weimaraner Jasmine, the dog after whom Andrew Rosindell has named his proposed new law which would see 'no pets' clauses banned from rented accommodation. - Credit: Jordan Adams

Jordan Adams reached out after he and Jasmine were forced apart by the terms of his tenancy.

Mr Rosindell opened the event - hosted by think tank Public Policy Exchange - by reiterating his desire to “correct this issue of injustice”, by reversing a law that is not "responsible or considerate".

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Explaining that Jordan was forced to leave Jasmine with his parentsMr Rosindell said: “It didn’t matter that Jasmine was a placid dog, or that Jordan was a responsible owner.”

If successful, the law would apply to both rented and temporary accommodation, with two exceptions - for medical/religious reasons and unsuitable accommodation - outlined in the draft bill. 

There was a wider discussion about pets in the age of lockdown, featuring panellists Anna Webb (broadcaster), Gabby Kuehn (founder of Pets Are Always Welcome (PAAW) House) and Rachel Cunliffe (The New Statesman).

The bill was also scrutinised by three experts - Dr Elizabeth Ormerod (the Society for Companion Animal Studies), Sarah Dixon (the FOAL Group) and Peter Laurie (Battersea). 

Jordan also came along to give an update on Jasmine, who remains at his mum's house for now, though he hopes the easing restrictions will allow the pair to be reunited soon.

Yearning for the day he can take Jasmine to her favourite spot by the beach, Jordan thanked Mr Rosindell for his diligent work on this issue, voicing his optimism over a campaign which "more and more people" are hearing about. 

Concluding the event, Mr Rosindell said: "What a fantastic morning it’s been. Everyone has summed up all the different strands of this debate, in a way I wish all MPs could see and understand."

Though clear that the job is "still a long way from being completed", he highlighted the success of the updated model tenancy agreement as a step in the right direction. 

This updated agreement incorporates most of Mr Rosindell's suggestions, though is not binding.  Only by being "enshrined in legislation" will Jasmine Law's become so. 

Backing Mr Rosindell, Jack Vanderpump from the Public Policy Exchange said: "This is an issue that transcends the political divide, and at a time of increased mental anxiety with the pandemic, it has perhaps never been so important to bring attention to.” 

After the event, Mr Rosindell told the Recorder: "My constituents in Romford are truly passionate about the wonderful bond between humans and pets. The wealth of green spaces, particularly around Havering-atte-Bower, but also places like the Chase Nature Reserve, Havering Country Park and Raphael Park, provide fantastic open spaces for dog-owners to walk their pets.

"They will recognise how unfair it is that so many around the country, including in Romford, are unable to bring pets into leaseholds or rented accommodation because of "no pets" clauses, when the vast majority of pets and their owners are sensible, responsible and would make excellent tenants.

"Jasmine's Law would end this unfair and unnecessary situation, protecting landlords while giving pet-owners access to rented accommodation and leaseholds which didn't exist before."

The real second reading is expected later this year.