News

Rules on tenants keeping pets: written consent from the landlord will still be required!

22 March 2019

At the end of August 2018, Flemish Animal Welfare Minister Ben Weyts reached an agreement with Verenigde Eigenaars (United Property Owners) regarding the keeping of pets in rented houses or apartments. From now on, it will not be permitted to simply refuse to allow tenants to keep pets in rented properties. Naturally, the situation will also depend on whether the tenant lives in a house or an apartment.

For a house:

  • Written consent from the landlord will still be required;
  • In principle, the landlord cannot refuse to allow the tenant to keep pets unless the rented property is unsuitable for keeping specific pets, e.g. if there is no garden or just a small internal courtyard, if there are dogs in the garden next door… 

For an apartment:

  • Written consent from the landlord will still be required;
  • In principle, the landlord cannot refuse to allow the tenant to keep pets if the rented property is not unsuitable for keeping specific pets and the articles of association or the rules on internal order for the building do not stop tenants from keeping pets, e.g. if a studio is too small and a dog is too big.

If the owner refuses to allow tenants to keep pets, the ban will therefore have to be justified sufficiently in the rental agreement in order for it to stand up in court. For there is a chance that the tenant may take the matter to court in order to dispute the landlord’s refusal to allow pets.

The court will assess each situation by taking the following factors into account:

  • Would the pet cause nuisance to the other residents or would the presence of the pet not be noticed at all?
  • Has the property been furnished by the owner?
  • Is the pet an exotic animal?
  • Has the pet caused damage to the property? Damage might mean scratches on a parquet floor or on a door.

For the sake of clarity: despite what Flemish Animal Welfare Minister Ben Weyts says (“Pets are definitely allowed, except in exceptional cases”), the following principle still applies: pets may only be kept with prior written consent from the landlord.

TIP: If you do not want to allow tenants to keep pets in the co-owned building, check the existing house rules to see whether this provision has already been included or ask the property administrator to put this matter on the agenda for the next general meeting so that the stipulation can be included in the (new) rules on internal order.

 

 


 [MI1]Fout brontaal: om specifieke huisdieren te houden.

 [MI2]Fout brontaal: zie supra

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