Renting in Spain when you have a pet: What are my rights?

Renting in Spain when you have a pet: What are my rights?
Image: Adriana Morales / Pixabay
There are millions of petowners in Spain, many of whom often wonder what the law states with regards to renting a property with their furry friends

Spain is a country of pet-loving people, and it seems that almost everyone here has either a dog, a cat, or a budgie cage on their balcony.

In fact, there are a whopping 13 million pets registered in Spain and around one quarter of all Spanish households have one or more pets. Ninety-three percent of these are dogs while six percent of these are cats. The other one percent includes smaller animals in cages. 

Pets have become even more important during the pandemic, keeping so many people company when they can’t socialise or go to group activities like they once could. In Spain, a dog became even more sought-after, when the confinement rules prohibited residents from leaving their houses to even go for a walk or exercise, unless they had a dog.

The number of pets in Spain has risen by around 40 percent in the past five years alone, meaning there are now more pets in Spain than children under 15. 

READ MORE: Why Spain now has ‘more pets than children aged under 15’

Many foreigners choose to move to Spain with their pets, and after all the paperwork, the pet passports and the necessary vaccinations, one of the primary concerns for pet owners is, how easy is it to rent with a pet in Spain?

Despite the number of people that own dogs or cats in Spain, it can be difficult to find a landlord who is willing to allow pets. Landlords are often concerned that pets may cause damage to the property, particularly to the furniture, if the property is furnished. They may also be concerned about noise and how this may affect neighbours.

Can a landlord really prohibit you from bringing a pet to live with you?

Property rental site Idealista says that neither the Horizontal Property Law, the Civil Code nor the Criminal Code, specifically state that you cannot own a pet in a rented property.

The site explains that the Urban Lease Law however does state that “housing leases shall be governed by the agreements, clauses and conditions, determined by the will of those involved”.

Even though this law doesn’t specifically prohibit pets, it means that you must abide by the rules and clauses that you agree upon with your landlord in your contract.

So, if your landlord has included a clause prohibiting pets in their property, then you won’t be allowed one. Sometimes a landlord will specify which types of pets they will allow, for example, animals in tanks or cages are fine, but they won’t allow bigger pets who can roam freely around the house.

On the other hand, if there is no specific clause banning pets, it means that you are free to have one, even if it’s not specifically mentioned.

There can sometimes be another hurdle to overcome besides the landlord though, which is the community association, who look after the building, in case the property is in an apartment block. So, even if your contract doesn’t state anything to the contrary, you may want to check with the association first, just in case.

What happens if I bring a pet into the property anyway?

If you decide to bring a pet into your property and go against what the landlord has stated in the contract by prohibiting them, then the landlord has the right to terminate your contract and you and your pet may have to find somewhere else to live.

If the rental contract doesn’t state that you can’t have pets and you have one, most of the time it will be fine. The only time you can run into problems is if the animal causes a nuisance because of noise or damages the property or communal areas. In this case, and if the landlord finds out, or if neighbours report you, the landlord also has the right to evict you.

If you are lucky enough to find a property with landlord who accepts pets, it’s worth holding onto it, as these are hard to come by. The landlord will also be happier having long-term tenants than being forced to find new ones every year. 

READ MORE: Travel between EU and UK: Pet owners warned about four-month waiting period

*Tip: Spanish property search engines such as Idealista or Fotocasa include a ‘pets allowed’ filter – se admiten mascotas – which can help you to dig up the rental properties that allow you to move in with your furry friends. 

What if I’m a landlord letting out a property?

As a landlord, you have a legal right to prohibit pets from living in your property, however you must make sure to include this in your contract, otherwise, tenants are allowed to have them. 

Under article 4.2 of the Urban Lease Law tenants are obliged to abide by agreements, clauses and conditions stated in the contract, so make sure it’s clear. 

There may be some benefits to allowing pets in your property, however. Tenants often have a hard time finding properties that will allow pets, so when they do find one, they are much likely to stay longer and be better, more loyal tenants if they can keep their furry friends with them. 

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