13 May 2009

French landlords can't ban pets

Here's another recent article from La Nouvelle République, our regional newspaper here in the Loire Valley:
Can a landlord refuse to rent to me
because I have a dog?

A reader found a house she wanted to rent, but the landlord
refused to rent to her because she has a dog. Can he do that?

I wanted to rent a small house in Blois, because I needed an extra bedroom. I was having a lot of trouble finding a place that was big enough and that I could afford. After seeing three privately owned properties, I found one that was just right for me. When the time came to sign the lease, the owner, whom I had already met and who had seemed to be glad that I was interested in his rental property, changed his mind. It was because I had a dog. I hadn't brought the dog along when I first viewed the property. Can the landlord refuse to rent to me on these grounds? (E-mail message from Sandrine in Blois)

Can a landlord impose a “no pets” policy on tenants? The law is clear, and the answer is no, as long as we are talking about an animal normally considered as a household pet. Any clause in a lease that goes contrary to that principle is strictly illegal and will be considered null and void under article 10 of the law of 9 July 1970. If the tenant has a boa constrictor, a monkey, or some other “exotic” animal, however, there's no guarantee that a judge will rule in his or her favor. In any case, the tenant is financially and legally responsible for any damages or nuisances caused by the pet (barking, meowing...) that might give rise to complaints from neighbors. Since the adoption of the law of 6 January 1999, attack dogs (specifically) cannot be left alone in the public areas of apartment buildings.

Questioned on these matters, a real estate agent in Blois agreed to say the following:

“In general, nothing precludes a tenant who is renting a house, or an apartment in either a privately owned or government-subsidized building, from keeping an animal that is ordinarily classified as a household pet. Stipulating any prohibition against pets in a lease is illegal.

“No matter what kind of animal it is, however, a household pet cannot ever be allowed to create a disturbance or any degradation in the common areas of an apartment building. If it does, the owner of the animal is legally liable. As for damages within an apartment, the tenant must do his or her best to prevent or repair them; in any case, if the rental property shows signs of such damage when the tenant vacates it, the landlord is within his rights to demand reparations, even if the cost exceeds the amount of the damage deposit.

“As for noise issues, neighbors have the right to file a complaint, and judicial authorities will make a ruling. In any case, tenants who have pets must inform their landlords of that fact, whether they are renting a house or an apartment, and whether the landlord is in agreement or not.”
Here's Callie posing with the pile of wood she has gathered
during walks in the vineyard over the past 6 or 8 months.

In France, owners of hotels, vacation rental properties, and restaurants can ban pets. We have rented a gîte rural in the Auvergne for a few days in September, and the owner doesn't mind if we bring Callie. It was the same when we went to the Ile d'Oléron last May. French dogs have a good life!


  1. Oh yes, dogs are welcome everywhere. Our dog has even been welcomed into some very nice hotels.

  2. Oh! I just noticed your new profile photo:)) It looks very summery!


  3. A dog's life indeed! How perfectly civilized.

    I like your new pic, too, although if someone showed it to me, I wouldn't have recognized that it was you right off. Maybe it's the tight cropping, or maybe you've just changed a lot since I've seen you. I'm sure we both have.

  4. Did you help Callie with the pile?? How on earth did she balance that top branch with out opposing

  5. Linda, no, Callie didn't make the pile. She isn't that compulsive! She just drops her grapevine pieces all around the yard, and then leaves it to us to gather them up and make a woodpile. We keep saying we'll move that pile to a better place soon, but we haven't gotten around to it yet.

  6. Ginny, I don't know if I've changed that much. But I think the camera lens, because I was holding it close to my face, distorted my nose! I don't think my nose is that big, do you? And I also had that funny grin on my face...

  7. I am looking forward to bringing our dog to France in a couple of weeks' time. (Dogs are not welcome in many places in England except for the occasional pub.) Mind you, I'm a bit nervous of taking her into restaurants yet. French dogs generally have good restaurant manners but Lulu can be a bit boistrous. And her nose is unfortunately at table height.

  8. My French friend takes her cat on holiday with her. They stay in hotels.



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