Pets in the rented apartment – is that allowed?

Many tenants wonder whether they can take their beloved four-legged friend with them to their new home. This article is therefore dedicated to the topic of pets in rented apartments and informs you about the important regulations that need to be observed.


If the tenancy agreement does not contain a provision on pets

To answer the question about your pet, you should first study the tenancy agreement. If this does not contain any rules on keeping pets, this is not prohibited. This means that you can always bring your four-legged friend with you to your new home. Exceptions are exotic and unusual animals that could possibly disturb or endanger the other tenants.

In the interest of a good relationship with the landlord, you should let him know if you have a very large dog or, for example, constrictor snakes in the apartment. Under certain circumstances, the landlord can then prohibit the keeping of animals, but you usually have the right on your side thanks to the lack of a clause in the tenancy agreement. In the event of a dispute, courts examine the individual case, so you have a good chance with a dog, but will probably lose out with a snake zoo.


If the tenancy agreement makes keeping pets dependent on the landlord

The majority of rental agreements in Switzerland make keeping pets dependent on the landlord’s consent. This clause is permitted and means that you must ask the landlord for permission before bringing a pet into the apartment. If you already have a pet, you should obtain the landlord’s consent at the time of signing.

Please note that the landlord may refuse your request without giving reasons. He will not normally do this with “nice” smaller animals, such as cats or parrots. However, it is also possible for the landlord to withdraw consent that has already been granted. However, he must give a good reason for this, such as a neighbor’s cat allergy or noise nuisance from the parrot.

By the way: Even if pets are allowed, home breeding is not normally welcome. As this is a commercial activity, you need a permit anyway.


If the rental agreement prohibits pets

There is no right to keep pets in Switzerland. Although small animals are usually unproblematic or are not even covered by the ban (see next section), landlords are generally allowed to prohibit you from keeping pets. If your tenancy agreement excludes the keeping of pets, you can ask the landlord for an exception. It is often helpful to introduce him to the pet.

However, the landlord may refrain from making an exception so that the ban on keeping pets applies. You should not ignore this, otherwise you risk a warning or even dismissal. As a tenant, you have a duty of care and consideration. If you do not respond to a warning, you can expect to be dismissed within 30 days.

Playing cat as a pet in the rented apartment

If they are small animals

An exception to the rules for keeping pets are so-called unproblematic small animal species. You may keep them even if keeping pets is prohibited under the tenancy agreement. However, the landlord can also formulate a complaint with good reason, which you must comply with.

The following small animal species may not be prohibited in the rental agreement in Switzerland:

  • Guinea pig
  • Hamster
  • Ornamental fish
  • Budgerigars

The prerequisite is that the animals do not lead to complaints, are not kept in excessive numbers and are housed in cages.

It is still unclear whether cats that do not leave the home are included in this small animal regulation. The view that this is the case is becoming increasingly widespread. Ultimately, however, keeping cats and small dogs depends on what your landlord says. We therefore recommend that you once again inform the landlord about the keeping of animals in the interests of good relations.

You also need the landlord’s permission if you want to make changes to the structure of the rented apartment to keep the small animals, for example to install an aquarium in the wall. Our tip: Always obtain permits in writing to be on the safe side legally.

When it comes to special animals

If you have a soft spot for exotic species and wild animals, you will need the landlord’s permission. In addition, authorization from the cantonal veterinary office is possible. As the import and keeping of many exotic animal species is not permitted in Switzerland for reasons of species protection, strict regulations apply which you should adhere to at all costs. If you comply with all the official requirements and the documents relating to the animal are complete, you may be able to convince your landlord.

When it comes to a dispute with the landlord

Pet owners sometimes get into a dispute with the landlord, even if keeping the animals is permitted. This may be the case, for example, if your four-legged friend makes a lot of noise or soils the stairwell. However, this dispute does not have to be the direct cause of a major conflict. Instead, you can contact a cantonal arbitration board to reach an agreement together. This procedure is free of charge and you only have to bear your own costs for copies, postage etc.

When the neighbor complains

If your neighbor complains about loud barking or an unpleasant smell from keeping pets, the landlord can prohibit the keeping of animals. Because as soon as there is a complaint, he has a good reason. However, you will normally receive a written reminder first. This gives you the chance to improve the behavior you have been warned about. Only if you do not comply with this request will the landlord completely prohibit the keeping of the animal in question in the apartment.

Tips on pets in the rented apartment

When keeping pets, you should consider other important aspects in addition to the landlord’s permission. These tips will help you to make pet ownership a pleasant experience for everyone:

  • Comply with animal welfare regulations, according to which budgerigars, for example, must not be kept alone and rabbits need a darkened retreat
  • Obtain approvals where necessary
  • Take out personal liability insurance when keeping ornamental fish in order to be insured against any water damage
  • You should also consider taking out pet insurance to protect yourself against unexpected costs

Do you still have questions about your rights as a tenant or need help finding a pet-friendly rental apartment in Switzerland? Get in touch, we will be happy to help you!

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All data are without guarantee. The information on these Internet pages has been carefully researched. Nevertheless, no liability can be accepted for the accuracy of the information provided.


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