Finding a suitable apartment can be extremely difficult for dog owners. Because not many landlords tolerate the four-legged friends in their rental properties. The reason for this, however, is often the prejudice they have against dogs: “They are noisy and cause dirt and fear in the neighbors”. Often the landlord then pronounces a ban on keeping dogs in the rented apartment. But is he legally allowed to do so? And how should potential new tenants proceed to introduce their four-legged friend into the house community without causing trouble? Here are seven tips for a good start in your new home.
The Federal Court of Justice has decided: A general pet ban has been abolished. In future, the landlord must provide a valid reason why he does not tolerate animal husbandry in his rental properties. The landlords usually make do with an express dog ban or with the clause that keeping animals requires the consent of the landlord, which is then effective according to the Federal Court of Justice. But the landlord may not refuse the dog without justification. This also applies if animal husbandry is not mentioned in the rental agreement. Anyone who keeps their dog in the apartment despite an existing ban can be terminated from the tenancy.
Allowing the dog to move in secretly or buying a dog later without permission can be fatal. In the worst case, this is followed by a termination of the tenancy. You should therefore take the dog with you to your landlord when you sign the contract or in advance and demonstrate his philanthropy and close relationship with your family. Many landlords, who are actually against keeping pets, can often be changed at a personal meeting. And even if you are already a tenant and later decide on a dog: Include the landlord (and the neighbors) in your considerations. You save yourself annoying discussions because a dog, unlike other pets, certainly does not go unnoticed in the long run.
The local courts disagree on what counts as small animals (i.e. generally not subject to approval). In the case of cats, according to court rulings, the landlord must have very good arguments against keeping cats – these are usually allowed. But even with small dogs there are often judgments in the interests of the tenants. In Hamburg (Az. 334 S 26/01), for example, a married couple was able to prevail and was allowed to keep their miniature dog in the rented apartment. In principle, small dogs have better chances than large four-legged friends – but of course that still depends on the landlord in the end.
You should study the house rules carefully, because they usually also state whether the dog has to be on a leash in the stairwell, that he is not allowed to “use” the sandpit in the yard, that the stairwell has to be kept clean and that the green areas are not intended for dogs . Even if it is not recorded in writing, it should be a matter of course for you as a dog owner to remove the remains immediately. It is also recommended that you brush your dog more often than necessary to prevent hair from flying around and, as best you can, to prevent excessive barking. Because odor and noise nuisance as well as heavy pollution of the communal areas are the main reasons for a complaint by the landlord to surrender the dog.
Children or elderly or perhaps sick people also live in larger apartment buildings. In addition to the fact that they are particularly susceptible to ticks, fleas and worms, an infestation can also have health consequences. To avoid any conflict in this regard and to reassure your neighbors, you should protect your dog preventively against the small parasites and have all vaccinations carried out regularly. Find out here how you can protect your dog from parasites.
Before you move in, find out whether other animals are already living in the house to avoid trouble. Cats running free in the stairwell could irritate your dog’s blood or the barking of other dogs tempted him to participate.
In addition: If there is already a case of keeping a dog in one of the rental apartments, the landlord will find it difficult to forbid you of all people to keep them.
Try to create a great start for you and your neighborhood dog. You are sure to have a nice photo of your dog. Print that on a card and write a welcome message on their behalf for your new neighbors. Introduce him with all his strengths and weaknesses. So your fellow tenants have the opportunity to get to know him a little and then maybe look forward to a personal encounter all the more. This usually has a positive effect.
Even if the permanent keeping of a dog in a rented apartment is prohibited, a dog can still come to visit. However, in order not to cause displeasure with the landlord, you should definitely make sure that this does not happen too long and too often. Because here, too, the following applies: Even regular dog visits are prohibited if the rental contract prohibits keeping dogs (Hamburg District Court, Az. 49 C 29/05).
In summary, it can be said: Keeping dogs and cats in the rented apartment may no longer be generally contractually prohibited. The reasoning of the 8th civil senate in Karlsruhe was at that time: “The contractual clause disproportionately disadvantages the tenant because it forbids him to keep dogs and cats without exception and regardless of special cases and interests”. At the same time, this does not mean “that the tenant can keep dogs or cats without any consideration for others”. Dogs are still reluctant to be seen, especially in large cities. So the decisions about dogs and cats are now always made on a case-by-case basis.
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