Are pets allowed when renting a flat in France? 

There are rules which relate mainly to the type of pet

Tenants naturally want to bring their pets with them when moving home

Reader Question: I am moving to Bordeaux for a few months for a temporary job, and need to rent an apartment while I am there. I want to bring my dog with me, but I am not sure if tenants are allowed pets.

In most cases, it is illegal for landlords to expressly forbid pet ownership in a rental contract. 

This is stated in article 10 of a 1970 law on rental agreements (which was most recently updated in 2012). 

It means that most property advertisements will not mention anything about pet ownership, although some may expressly state pets are welcome. 

That being said, if you tell a landlord or property manager that you are planning to bring a pet with you when you move in, they can still reject your application under the guise of another reason. This is especially the case when there are multiple prospective tenants viewing the property, as is usually the case in larger cities.

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In addition, there are some exceptions to this rule.

Firstly, pets can be forbidden from seasonal tourist lets (location saisonnière de meublés de tourisme), as long as it is stated in the rental agreement. There are also different rules for owning pets in certain social housing units (HLMs). 

Secondly, certain pets can be banned. 

Cats, (most) dogs and other smaller pets (rabbits, hamsters, ferrets) cannot be explicitly banned, but owners of some more unusual pets, especially those considered dangerous, such as snakes, scorpions and spiders, can be refused a rental agreement. 

Also, if your dog is of a kind considered in France a ‘category 1’ dangerous dog, landlords are within their rights not to rent to you (for a ‘category 2’ dog, mainly guard dogs, you would need to have the appropriate permit to be in charge of such an animal).

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Read more: How do I bring my pet into France from the US?

Nuisance to neighbours

Finally, if owning a pet would be detrimental to other nearby tenants or owners (in a shared building or block of flats) or the animal is likely to cause damage, landlords can also use this as a justification to ban pets. 

The size of the property you are looking to rent also comes into play. 

For example, someone renting a studio apartment smaller than 20 m² can reasonably justify that the presence of an animal may bring nuisance to the other tenants, but this cannot be said if renting out a detached home.

Note that it is you as the renter – and not the landlord – that are responsible for the nuisance and damage caused by your pets.

Note that if your pet disturbs your neighbours, this could potentially give rise to legal action. 

This can come in the form of a noise dispute, or as potential grounds for eviction. 

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If you are renting a property and bringing your pet, you should make sure your insurance policy covers potential damage by the animal.