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Can a landlord refuse pets, in law and in practice?

Is it possible to include in a lease agreement a prohibition on owning pets?

While the question is simple, we'll see that the answer is much more complex. But don't worry, at Colonies, we'll explain everything to you.

What does the law say about it?

First of all, let's start with the basics, what do the laws say about the prohibition of pets by a landlord? If it's a residential lease, the landlord cannot (except in certain cases) refuse to rent to you because you own one or more pets.

The relevant law is Law No. 70-598 of July 9, 1970 concerning lessor and lessee relationships. This law applies to both furnished and unfurnished apartments and rentals.

But even though the law allows you to have a pet, you are still not exempt from responsibility, quite the contrary.

Damages and disturbances: your responsibility

Does your dog tend to bark in the evening and bother several neighbors? Has your cat damaged the fabric of the sofa in your furnished apartment with its claws? Generally speaking, you are 100% responsible for the disturbances and damages caused by your pets.

If you live in an apartment building, it is essential to carefully study the co-ownership regulations to avoid any future disputes, particularly concerning common areas.

Moreover, we advise you to inform yourself, with legal texts, about your rights and those of your pets. For example, noise disturbance starts at 3 decibels. If your dog's barking regularly exceeds this threshold, it can lead to some neighborhood problems or even a complaint.

Different cases in which a landlord can prohibit a pet

But even though a landlord is not allowed to prohibit a pet, there are still a few exceptions that we will present to you right away.

Ownership of a dangerous dog of 1st category

For safety reasons, a landlord can specify in the lease agreement the prohibition of having a dangerous dog or a fighting dog. Under this designation, several breeds of dogs are concerned, such as the Staffordshire Terrier or the Rottweiler.

Ownership of a new pet (NAC)

Nowadays, dogs, cats, rabbits, and small rodents are not the only pets anymore. Some people own spiders, snakes, or pigs categorized as new pets (NAC). A landlord has the right to refuse this type of animal for rental applicants.

Renting a vacation or tourist accommodation

The last exception to the law is vacation rentals. For this type of accommodation where the security deposit is either nonexistent or less significant than for a traditional residential lease, the law stipulates that a landlord can refuse the presence of a pet.

Why, in practice, are there prohibitions on pets in advertisements?

The reason is simple, a landlord has 100% discretion concerning their tenant. Thus, if they don't want pets on their property, they can simply reject all applications from people with pets.

To circumvent this prohibition, you can acquire a pet only a few months after moving into the studio or apartment. But we advise against this, as it's the best way to get into conflict with your landlord. It's better to favor landlords who accept pets.

Having a pet in an apartment, the important questions to ask yourself

It is entirely possible for you to have a pet in your rental. But is it really the best solution for your comfort, living space, or your relationship with your neighbors? In a student room or a studio, for example, you will neither have the space nor the time to properly care for a large dog. Therefore, carefully choose the type of pet you want to own, especially in a shared living situation. Indeed, between allergy problems, noise, and everything else, the presence of a pet can quickly create tensions within a community.

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