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▷ International Cat Day: What do tenants have to consider when keeping a cat? – Insurance for Pets


04.08.2020 – 09:43

McMakler

A document

- Ein uneingeschränktes Verbot der Tierhaltung ist als standardisierte Klausel im Mietvertrag unwirksam
- Vermieter dürfen Haustiere nicht grundlos verweigern, sondern müssen die Ablehnung mit objektiven und sachlichen Gründen belegen können
- Einbau von nicht genehmigter Katzenklappe berechtigt nicht zur fristlosen Kündigung, aber zum Schadensersatzanspruch 

August 8, 2020 is World Cat Day. A total of 14.7 million house cats live in around 23 percent of households in Germany. With this in mind, it’s not surprising that the cat has its own holiday. McMakler summarizes what needs to be considered when keeping cats in rental properties with regard to World Cat Day. The current press release can be found in the attachment.

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Franka Schulz

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Head of Public Relations

Tel: +49 30 555 744 917 | Mail: franka.schulz@mcmakler.de

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PRESS RELEASE

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International Cat Day: What do tenants have to consider when keeping a cat?

- Ein uneingeschränktes Verbot der Tierhaltung ist als standardisierte Klausel im Mietvertrag unwirksam
- Vermieter dürfen Haustiere nicht grundlos verweigern, sondern müssen die Ablehnung mit objektiven und sachlichen Gründen belegen können
- Einbau von nicht genehmigter Katzenklappe berechtigt nicht zur fristlosen Kündigung, aber zum Schadensersatzanspruch 

Berlin, AUGUST 4, 2020 – The love of animals: August 8, 2020 is World Cat Day. The most popular pet of Germans celebrates its special day. According to the Industrieverband Heimtierbedarf e.V. (IVH) [1] In 2019, around 34 million pets lived in German households. This means that almost every second household in Germany has at least one pet. The undisputed number one: the cat. A total of 14.7 million house cats live in around 23 percent of households in Germany. With this in mind, it’s not surprising that the cat has its own holiday. The full-service real estate service provider McMakler (www.mcmakler.de) summarizes what needs to be considered when keeping cats in rental properties with regard to World Cat Day.

The general ban on pets is ineffective

The case law of the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) on the subject of animal husbandry is clear: A clause in the pre-formulated lease that prohibits the keeping of animals in general is ineffective due to unreasonable disadvantage for the tenant (judgment of January 20th, 1993, Az: VIII ZR 10/92). The keeping of small animals such as hamsters, budgies or aquarium fish is always allowed, as their presence is part of the contractual use of the apartment. Especially if they are kept in a container (aquarium, bird cage, etc.). In principle, cats and dogs may not be banned within the framework of general terms and conditions (BGH, judgment of March 20, 2013, Az: VIII ZR 168/12). “However, that does not mean that tenants can now keep cats and dogs without any consideration for others. Rather, the attitude must be assessed individually in each case on the basis of a weighing of interests, ”explains Philipp Takjas, in-house lawyer at McMakler.

Reservation of permission by the landlord for keeping cats

There are many different animal husbandry contracts. Small animals must not be excluded through pre-formulated contracts, provided that an appropriate number of animals is kept. When keeping cats and dogs, the landlord should be asked for permission before purchasing. A clause on the reservation of permission is effective if it does not cover all animal husbandry, but only refers to certain animals. “The landlord may not refuse to give his consent in general or arbitrarily. He must be able to present factual and objective reasons for the rejection. In addition to the legitimate interests of the landlord and the neighbors, the following aspects must be taken into account: number of cats in the apartment, the behavior of the animal, the way they are kept and the condition and location of the apartment in the house, ”says Takjas from McMakler. The same applies if there is a right of withdrawal for keeping pets in the rental agreement. Withdrawal of the permit without giving reasons would unreasonably disadvantage the tenant.

Weighing of interests: cat hair allergy

A neighbour’s cat hair allergy can – but does not have to be – affect how you keep cats. This is proven by the different case law in the following cases. In one case (Regional Court Munich I, judgment of March 25, 2004, Az: 34 S 16167/03), a tenant of a cooperative apartment wanted to buy a cat for therapeutic reasons for his son, who suffered from panic attacks and insomnia. A neighbor who suffered from allergic asthma disagreed with this. The district court ruled in favor of the neighbor. As part of the weighing of interests, the risk of the sick person suffering from a life-threatening asthma attack was judged to be more serious than the psychological development of the child without a cat. On the other hand, there is an older judgment by the Hanover District Court and the Cologne District Court (judgment of August 9, 2012, Az: 210 C 103/12). In the case of the AG Cologne, the landlord preventively banned keeping cats in order to protect allergic tenants without a specific allergic tenant living in the house. The court saw this reason as insufficient for a general ban and also pointed out that with a pure house cat there is hardly any risk of contact with the neighbors anyway. “A neighbour’s cat hair allergy does not mean that keeping animals can be prohibited. The decisive factor is always the weighing of interests in the individual case, ”explains Philipp Takjas from McMakler. « The legal situation is clearer, for example, in the case of furnished apartments, since cat hair is very difficult to remove, especially from upholstered furniture, » adds Takjas.

How many cats are too many?

The more, the better – many cat lovers may think to themselves. The district court of Berlin-Lichtenberg (judgment of July 31, 1996, Az: 8 C 185/96) decided, however, that seven cats in a three-room apartment are unfortunately five too many. In view of the size of the apartment and the coexistence with the other residents, the tenant had to limit the number of her house tigers to two. The same thing happened to the owner of a one-room apartment. He kept 14 cats in his 42 square meter property. The Berlin Court of Appeal (judgment of 03.06.1991, Az: 24 W 6272/90) ruled that if there are more than four cats there is no longer a proper use of the property. The background to the lawsuit was that other house residents had complained about the strong odor nuisance. In principle, the number of velvet paws in an apartment should be limited to an appropriate amount.

Damage from keeping cats

More and more tenants want to make it easier for their cats to get in and out with the help of a cat flap. The installation of a cat flap not approved by the landlord is contrary to the contract, but does not justify the termination of the lease. Both the Berlin-Schöneberg District Court (judgment of February 19, 2004, Az: 9 C 619/03) and the Erfurt District Court (judgment of July 9, 1999, Az: 223 C 1095/98) decided. However, the landlord has a claim for damages – and that can be quite expensive when moving out.

“There is not always a claim for damages. If the landlord tolerated the keeping of animals, then, for example, scratch marks on a parquet floor are part of the contractual use of the apartment, ”says in-house lawyer Takjas. The district court of Berlin-Charlottenburg (judgment of 23.03.1999, Az: 8 C 126/98) has decided that the wear and tear of the floor caused by the animal is part of normal rental use when kept in a species-appropriate manner.

Conclusion

“The landlord does not have to tolerate every pet, but is also not allowed to pronounce a general pet ban. Keeping small animals is always allowed as long as there is a normal number of animals. In order to be able to pronounce a ban on keeping animals, this must be subject to a permit. The landlord must individually assess the interests in each case. With a species-appropriate keeping and an adequate number of house tigers, nothing should stand in the way of keeping cats ”, sums up Philipp Takjas from McMakler.

[1]Source: representative survey commissioned by the Industry Association for Pet Supplies (IVH) e.V. and the Central Association of German Zoological Companies (ZZF) from the market research institute Skopos (household representative survey, based on 7,000 respondents)

About McMakler

McMakler (www.mcmakler.de) is a full-service real estate service provider active in Germany, Austria and France and has been combining state-of-the-art digital analysis, marketing and communication technologies with personal advice to its customers through its own on-site brokers since 2015. With this hybrid business model, McMakler has developed into a pioneer of digitization in the brokerage industry and one of the fastest growing real estate companies in Germany. The company, headquartered in Berlin, currently employs more than 570 people, 290 of them own brokers. Felix Jahn started the hybrid real estate broker as a founding investor and executive chairman and also took over the CEO function in 2018.

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Tel: +49 30 555 744 917 | Mail: franka.schulz@mcmakler.de

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