We are delighted to welcome Jen Berezai from AdvoCATS to share her story with you. Jen is a key supporter, and member of the campaign for Jasmine’s Law, a bill to end ‘no pet’ clauses, introduced to parliament by Andrew Rosindell MP recently. AdvoCATS and PAAW House are aligned on many issues, we look forward to bringing you some fun canine and feline collaborations in the coming months. Over to you Jen.
Welcome to AdvoCATS’ guest blog for PAAW House!
Let’s start by introducing ourselves properly. AdvoCATSeastmids was founded in 2018 as a direct response to the increasing problem of pet owning tenants finding accommodation that would accept them and their furry family members. We’re a voluntary group, we offer a free support and advice service for both landlords and tenants – by demonstrating responsible pet ownership. We look to allay a landlord’s concerns about having a pet or pets in their property. We’re primarily involved with cats, but have helped cat & dog and dog only owning tenants too.
We also campaign for increased awareness of the problems tenants face, and have been featured in Your Cat, Cat World and the APGOCATS parliamentary report into loneliness, and the part pets can play in alleviating it. We are supported by Cats Protection, and landlords/lettings agencies bodies NRLA and ARLA Propertymark.
Most recently, we’ve been working with PAAW House and MP Andrew Rosindell on the #jasmine’slaw campaign to outlaw blanket ‘no pets’ clauses in rental contracts, and although his bill is now on the back burner thanks to Covid-19, the campaigning continues in the hope we can come back bigger and stronger when the time is right.
Over the coming months we’ll be blogging about the campaign and our work, with stories from those who we’ve helped and who inspired us. We’re starting with;
Rebecca was a young woman who thought her world was complete – newly married, she had just moved into a flat large enough for her, her husband, their two cats and his two children from a previous relationship to come and stay in. Life was good. A short time after the big move, and 7 weeks to the day from the wedding, Darren – who had a history of mental health problems – committed suicide.
Devastated, Rebecca tried everything to be able to afford to stay in the flat, but after a couple of bad experiences with lodgers, her own mental health deteriorated and she had to move to a much smaller property which sadly didn’t allow pets. Losing her beloved cats on top of everything else (she’d also been stopped from any access to her stepsons because of her health) very nearly broke her, and made her recovery a much longer, lonely and more painful process.
The birth of AdvoCATS…
Rebecca is the goddaughter of our co-founder Jen Berezai, and it was she Rebecca turned to when she needed to rehome her cats. When a home was found at the eleventh hour, it was Jen who had the ghastly job of taking Rebecca’s cats away from her, and it was that whole awful experience that inspired what was to become AdvoCATS. Rebecca allows us to tell her story to try and show the important role pets play in our lives, and the devastation caused when landlords refuse them. We always finish by saying that several years on, Rebecca is in a new relationship, training to be a mental health nurse, and is happily owned by two black cats.
Gremlin, one of PAAW House’s VIPP ambassadors © @annawebbdogs