Can landlords ban pets in rental homes? Lawyer responds
They say either it is or not. But in the case of animals in the apartments, not everything is black and white – there are gray areas.
Can landlords prevent the presence of animals when entering into lease contracts? This may be a “cheese question” (for those who remember petty stalking), but the answer isn’t straightforward.
First of all, it is important to know that There is no legal rule that prevents a landlord from including a no-pets clause in a rental agreement. “This is a gray area,” attorney Telmo Correa told PiT. “There was an attempt to enforce the possibility of having pets in the apartments, but the specific rule was not approved.”
For this reason, counsel explains, we are in lawless land at this particular address, because the lease benefits from autonomy. However, there are two nuances: the landlord can limit his freedom to contract depending on whether the tenants have animals, but it is difficult to justify the landlord’s termination of the contract if there is no such initial check. Even if the tenant did not have animals at the time of the conclusion of the contract.
“Only if there is something in the lease that states this prohibition, it is possible” to prevent the animal’s survival. It’s ‘nim,’ but what happens is that the landlords have introduced this clause. Whether or not it is true, there is for all tastes, and there is no clear answer. Telmo Correia points out that it is at least defensible that if there is such a clause, Under the terms of autonomy and freedom of contract, it must be respected.”
Then there’s the practical side: It’s hard to keep buying a war with the owner. No tenant, even trying to assert himself, can maintain the lease. There will always be problems.
“With no specific rule imposing an obligation, we are in a bind. It all depends on the sensitivity and caution with which the owner will sign this contract – but if he has not imposed the obligation before, I find it difficult to enforce it later.”
There were already court decisions that did not uphold the ban clause
Although the owner is free to make a prohibition clause, there are already court-level decisions declaring this clause invalid, the attorney asserts. “There was already case law that the court had brought in not ratifying this provision, but these are exceptional cases.”
In the current examples, what defined the invalidity of the clause was in “cases where the benefit of owning an animal is greater than the owner’s benefit or interest in banning it”. And in this context, only animal assistance is included.
“There was a case in which it was sufficient to prove that the animal was conducive to the well-being of the family, and thus the survival of the pet prevailed. In these cases, what is evaluated is the weighting of interests,” says Telmo Correa. Also because a lease is always a probate meeting.
Although the presence of animals is permitted, in the case of independent fractions in a horizontal property system, condominium regulations can also set an animal limit lower than that set by law – four animals per household, and there can only be three dogs at most.
And what are these independent fractions in the horizontal property system? If the owner wants to sell a store or other part of his building, he will have to make a deed to place it on a horizontal property. In other words, it is no longer a building as a whole and each part (apartment, shop) has become an independent part.
There are also cases, when the building is in a horizontal property, where the owner allows pets to stay, but is prohibited by the Condominium Law – however, for this prohibition to be in effect, this regulation must be registered with the Land Registry. In these cases, tenants may try to talk to the landlords, in order to obtain permission for the animal to be on the property.
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