There have been calls on the Mayor of London and councils to allow more social housing tenants to keep pets.

These calls came from Conservative London Assembly Member Steve O’Connell during an Assembly plenary meeting yesterday.

Mr O’Connell proposed a motion calling on Sadiq Khan to work with councils and housing associations to introduce more flexible housing policies.

These policies included allowing Londoners in rented property to own a pet – many are unable to do so because of housing restrictions.

Mr O’Connell said: “Having a pet can have such a positive impact on an individual’s quality of life and wellbeing.

“Sadly, many social housing tenants are prohibited from keeping a pet, meaning that they miss out on so many of the associated benefits.

“We want the Mayor to use his considerable influence to persuade councils and housing associations to bring in more flexible policies which allow a greater number of tenants to keep a pet.”

The calls came following a report by Battersea Dogs & Cats Home which looked at pet ownership in rented property and how it could benefit tenants.

The report, Pet Friendly Properties, said just under a quarter of local authorities allow their tenants to keep a dog and just under half of local authorities allow tenants to keep a cat.

It also said pet owners are 60 per cent more likely than non-pet owners to get to know people in their neighbourhoods and that pet owners stay longer in their tenancies and develop stronger community ties than non-pet owners.

Labour London Assembly Member Tom Copley also backed the motion.

Mr Copley said: “I really welcome Battersea’s new report on pet friendly properties. This is an issue that I feel personally very strongly about: I’m a private tenant and I’m not allowed pets.

“Pets bring us great joy and have an extremely positive effect on mental health. It is estimated that pet ownership saves the NHS £2.5 billion a year.”