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Pets make a home: the benefits of pets in rented accommodation

June 18 @ 10:00 am - 11:30 am


Pets play an important role in many people’s lives and often make a house a home. However, keeping pets in rented accommodation can be problematic. This issue is gaining more attention in policy, practice, and academia, and in this webinar, we explore it further.

We are delighted to be joined by Tom Simcock (Research Fellow at the University of Huddersfield), who has recently led a piece of research for Battersea Dogs and Cats Home that shows the clear financial benefits of renting to pet owners and helps dispel myths about pets and assumed damage. Tom will highlight the key findings from this research and talk about the benefits of pet ownership to tenants and landlords.

We are excited to welcome Cats Protection who have long been campaigning for an end to blanket ‘no pets’ policies that deny millions of pet-loving renters the joy and companionship of a pet. Alice Palombo (Advocacy & Government Relations Officer for Scotland and Northern Ireland) will discuss Cats Protection’s Purrfect Landlord campaign. She will provide insights into recent legislative updates aimed at encouraging landlords to allow pets, including the Renters (Reform) Bill and the Housing (Scotland) Bill. Additionally, Natalie Ratcliffe (Lifeline Manager for Scotland) and Amy Hyde (Lifeline Manager) will share their work on ensuring that people fleeing domestic abuse are reunited with their pets.

The webinar will be Chaired by Kelly Henderson, the Chief Executive of Addressing Domestic Abuse.

Who should attend?

This event would be of interest to researchers and policy professionals working in health, housing, and homelessness disciplines, policy makers, and housing professionals who would like to know more about the work they can do to support tenants and how they can access Lifeline’s services, if they need them.

About the speakers

Dr Kelly Henderson is the founder and Managing Director of Addressing Domestic Abuse (ADA) – a community interest company that carries out research, evaluation and training on domestic abuse. ADA also supports housing providers, local authorities and repair companies to improve their response to domestic abuse. Kelly co-founded the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance and has a range of housing experience, including the role of Director of Housing, Supporting People Manager and roles in policy and research. She led a national property repairs company’s work on developing repairs operatives’ recognition of domestic abuse and the company establishing referral pathways with housing providers.

She has a Masters in Housing Policy and Management and a PhD from Durham University focusing on the role of housing in a co-ordinated community response to domestic abuse. She was named 24 Housing’s ‘Housing Professional of the Year’ 2018 for her work and research on housing and domestic abuse and named in the top 20 women leaders in Housing in 2020. Kelly co-authored ‘Domestic Abuse and Housing – Policy into Practice’ (Routledge) and sits on the board of a housing provider.

Amy Hyde is the Lifeline Service Manager at Cats Protection and has been delivering specialist pet fostering services to survivors of domestic abuse for 12 years, overseeing both the Dogs Trust Freedom Project and during the last two years has led Lifeline, the specialist cat fostering service at Cats Protection. During this time, Amy led the significant expansion of the Freedom Project to an almost UK-wide service, and more recently moved to Cats Protection and has expanded the service significantly across England, Scotland and Wales. Amy co-chairs the Links Pet Fostering Group – a coalition of specialist pet fostering services operating in the UK. Amy has a background in animal behaviour and welfare and regularly volunteers on a national domestic abuse helpline.

Alice Palombo is the Advocacy & Government Relations Officer for Scotland and Northern Ireland at Cats Protection. In her three years at the charity, she has influenced politicians in Westminster and the devolved nations and engaged with varying organisations about issues affecting cat welfare.

She oversaw Cats Protection’s first digital advocacy campaign in Scotland which resulted in over 1,300 of the charity’s supporters responding to the New Deal for Tenants consultation, advocating for measures to allow responsible tenants to keep pets. Alice has played a key role in housing roundtables, discussing strategies to keep pets with their owners in rented housing and reduce the need to give up their pet. She has met with government officials and led campaigns to encourage landlords to allow tenants to keep pets, highlighting the bond between owners and pets and the burden relinquishments place on rehoming organisations.

Natalie Ratcliffe has worked in Cats Protection Lifeline since early 2023, first launching the service into East Anglia, then more recently leading the service expansion into Scotland in 2024. With a background in partnership working and community outreach services, Natalie has been working in the animal welfare sector for a number of years supporting pets and their owners to remain together in their homes and reduce the rates of pet relinquishment.

Natalie also has professional experience working with victim-survivors of elder abuse and supporting vulnerable adults with care and support needs. Within her current role, she regularly delivers training on the link between abuse to people and abuse to pets to a range of support services and agencies across Scotland, including Police Scotland, Scottish Women’s Aid branches and Deaf Action.

Dr Tom Simcock is a Research Fellow and the Research Manager of the Healthy Housing Initiative at the University of Huddersfield. Tom’s most recent research has focussed on the experiences of renters in Scotland, the financial costs and benefits of renting to pet-owners, and cultural change in the UK Fire and Rescue Services. Tom is a Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol), a certified member of the Market Research Society (CMRS), and he is the Chair of the Housing Studies Association. Tom is regularly called upon by policymakers for his expertise; his research has been cited in parliamentary debates, informed Government policymaking, and has given evidence to the Welsh Parliament.




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