Caring for an animal is a lifelong commitment. We must provide him not only with good living conditions, but we are also responsible for the damage he has caused. There is no problem with that if we keep the animal in our apartment. Problems may arise when we rent premises.
What do the regulations say about animals?
The essential provision that guardians must respect is Art. 431 of the Civil Code. According to it, liability for damage caused by animals passes to the person who keeps them or uses them. Hiding is understood as taking care of the animal, i.e. providing it with shelter, food and, if necessary, treatment for a long time. The use of an animal, on the other hand, is nothing more than using it for a specific purpose other than giving orders.
It should be remembered that the person who hides the animal is also responsible for the damage done by the escaped or stray person. It is a responsibility for lack of proper supervision.
It is also worth knowing that the owner is responsible for noises caused, for example, by a dog barking at night. If an animal, left unattended, regularly seeks out, which disturbs its neighbours, the guardian may face the consequences of Art. 51 of the Petty Offenses Code. Most often, the owner gets a fine. Its amount ranges from 5.07 to 1266.90 USD . In extreme cases, caring for a nuisance pet may lead to the tenant’s eviction or an auction of the condo property. Such a solution was provided for in the acts: on the ownership of premises (Art. 16), on housing cooperatives (Art. 1710 / Art. 27 (5)) and the protection of tenants’ rights (Art. 13).
In renting, the regulations do not prohibit keeping an animal in the leased premises unless provided for in the contract. Therefore, if we did not make such an annotation, the tenant may support, for example, a dog or fish in the apartment. At the same time, he is obliged to repair any damage caused by the animal.
An animal in a rented apartment – from the tenant’s point of view
No one is as happy about our return home as a dog. On the other hand, the cat can calm us down with its purring. They are sometimes our best friends. So it is evident that when we move, we take our ward with us. Unfortunately for apartment owners, this situation is not so clear-cut. Therefore, if the advertisement does not contain information about the consent or the ban on keeping pets, many tenants decide to conceal having a pet. This is for two reasons.
First, some tenants find that if they pay for a flat, the landlord should not be interested in what they do there. After all, they are responsible for all damages anyway. Second, the keepers do not mention the animal because they are simply afraid of not finding a roof over their heads. Unfortunately, in both cases, we will most likely conflict with the owner. Even as he is an animal lover, withholding such vital information from him will undoubtedly raise his concerns about our integrity. In such a situation, it should come as no surprise that he will often visit us to check that the apartment is still in the same condition as when the keys were handed over.
Therefore, it is good to warn the owner that we care for the animal and present him with a vaccination booklet.
A pet in a rented apartment – what is the owner of the condo afraid of?
Traces of the presence of animals are the most common reason for refusing to keep them in rented apartments. Most people immediately imagine broken furniture and carpets, scratched wallpaper and scratched floors. Of course, not every animal devastates the condo. Many of them are well arranged, and their keepers make sure that the animals do not get bored. Unfortunately, even its owner cannot predict how the charge will behave in the new place.
Another problem is the smell that the pet leaves behind. And we don’t mean pissing on the apartment. It is enough for a dog or a cat to lie on the floor or sofa for many months, and its smell will penetrate the surface. The caregivers most often do not pay attention to it because they are used to it. However, new people will immediately sense that there was an animal here. In this case, we may have trouble renting the apartment again. It is also worth mentioning that many people are educated about hair. Unfortunately, after the animal has lived for many months, it is difficult to remove it altogether.
Hence, it is not difficult to be surprised by the owners that they prefer tenants without pets. Renovating an apartment after such a tenant can be time-consuming and costly.
Exotic tenant – how to behave?
A few years ago, the fashion for breeding exotic animals reached Poland. The fascination with snakes, spiders or scorpions meant that many people decided to buy them. Unfortunately, having an unusual pet is often problematic. Before taking the animal home, it is necessary to read the ordinance of the Minister of the Environment of August 3, 2011. on animal kinds dangerous to human life and health. The regulations list specific species that are strictly forbidden to breed and require a special permit to keep at home.
It must be remembered that not only the care of exotic animals requires obtaining a permit. In Poland, two groups of quadrupeds are under special supervision. These are dogs of breeds considered aggressive and greyhounds. The first group includes 11 American pit bull terriers; an American bulldog; Argentine Dog, Rottweiler and Caucasian Shepherd Dog. Greyhounds are on the list because of the shameful practice of using them for illegal hunting.
Therefore, if we, as the owner, consent to the presence of the animal in the premises we rent, we should first of all make sure what species it is. If his breeding requires a permit, the tenant should present it to us. Although the owner is responsible for the damage caused, the sight of a dangerous dog or a monkey may arouse anxiety among neighbours. It is also worth asking what protection against possible escape, e.g. from the terrarium, is used by the animal’s owner. Although we are used to the news of snakes or spiders crawling around the courtyards, the sight of them in the block would undoubtedly cause panic. Remember, those good neighbourly relations should be taken care of by the apartment owner and the tenant.
Lease contract and animals – how to protect yourself
1. Lack of consent to the presence of animals
When the owner strongly does not agree to keep the pet in the rented apartment, he should include such a provision in the contract. The paragraph may read: “The landlord does not agree to keep animals in the premises.” Such annotation complies with the regulations and principles of social coexistence. The result of non-compliance is the termination of the lease by the owner due to the use of the premises contrary to the contract. This is in line with Art. 11 sec. 2 points 1 of the act on the protection of the rights of tenants. However, it must be remembered that to terminate the contract, and a given circumstance must first occur. The landlord should then provide the tenant with a written reminder. If the premises continue to be used contrary to the contract, they should be handed over a termination notice.
To discourage the tenant from hiding an animal in the apartment even more effectively, the owner may include a clause in the contract containing a contractual penalty for failure to comply with the arrangements. For example: “If the tenant does not comply with the provisions of the contract regarding the prohibition of having a pet in the premises, he is obliged to pay the landlord a contractual penalty for 126.69 USD for each month of the violation”. The contractual penalty is intended to replace the compensation. Despite this, it is worth adding the possibility of obtaining additional compensation in the clause. The annotation may read as follows: “The owner has the right to demand supplementary compensation if the above-mentioned contractual penalty does not cover the incurred losses”.
2. When the owner agrees to keep the pet
The owner loves dogs and agrees to live with the tenant; at the same time, he does not like cats and does not agree to hide them. Also, in this case, an appropriate provision can be made in the contract. It is enough to note: “The landlord allows the tenant to keep only the dog in the apartment.” Instead of “dog”, you can mention all other animals, such as fish in an aquarium or a cat, and even a specific breed, age and size.
As already mentioned, the tenant is responsible for the damage caused by his pet. Nevertheless, it is worth additionally protect yourself in this respect. There are several options. The first is to request a higher deposit, which will allow for a comprehensive renovation of the apartment. The funds should be enough to repaint walls and ceilings, possibly repair furniture and get rid of the smell of an animal from the apartment. The most effective method is the ozonation of the interior. Ozone effectively reduces odours and allergens.
The second form of security is obliging the tenant to take out the tenant’s civil liability insurance. The policy will cover the cost of repairing any damage caused. Unfortunately, virtually none covers odour removal.
The third most crucial security feature is preparing a detailed handover protocol. The document must list all equipment and furniture along with a detailed description of their condition. In addition, it is worth adding photos to the protocol showing the current situation of the apartment. Remember that it will be the basis for the settlement of the deposit and the possible claim for compensation for damage.
3. A pet in a rented room
If we rent an apartment “for rooms”, it is worth entering a paragraph in the contract regarding the prohibition of keeping animals by each tenant. The animal usually stays not only in the guardian’s room but also in common areas. You have to take into account the fact that tenants generally change at different times. And although at the moment everyone agrees to the presence of, e.g. a cat, it is possible that in the future we will have problems renting a room.
Is it worth agreeing to a pet in a rented apartment?
It all depends on our attitude towards animals and the tenant. An aquarium with fish will not litter the place or leave an unpleasant smell in it. In the case of cats and dogs, the situation becomes a bit more complicated. Animals can scratch furniture, pee on the floor, despite the assurances of their guardian that nothing like this has ever happened before.
However, the property owner can protect himself against the damage. It is enough to request a higher deposit or agree on the tenant’s additional activities when leaving the premises. These include, among others, painting walls and ozonating the entire apartment to eliminate the smell and allergens left by the animal.
When, as a rule, we do not want any animals in the rented apartment, we immediately narrow the pool of interested parties. It should be borne in mind that the person in charge of animals usually rarely carry. Animals become attached not only to humans but also to places. Therefore, frequent changes of location are not recommended for them. Therefore, if we want a long-term lease agreement, renting an apartment to a tenant with a dog or a cat is worth considering. In addition, people who love animals and care for them are usually friendly towards people and have little conflict.