It is frequent that through the irresponsibility of some owners with their pets, many neighbors become alarmed or annoyed about animals being left alone for hours either in the house, on terraces, or balconies.
So can they legally stop you from owning a pet?
Spanish Applicable legislation
There are administrative acts which exist to sanction behaviour that violates the obligations and duties inherent to the responsible tenure of animals.
In addition, it is legal for Communities of Owners to determine if the ownership of pets is allowed and to limit the number of pets allowed per person or per household in their registered Statutes.
Another issue is whether this is done according to the regulations of internal regime or specific agreements made by the board of owners and if it is open to be challenged.
1) The Horizontal Property regime:
Just because we have bought a property and it belongs to us does not mean that we have absolute freedom to do as we please. The right of ownership gives us the “maximum possibilities of use” but can be limited by the collision of the rights of other co-owners in the community.
If we have pets, we must know how many animals are allowed in our locality without requiring a zoo license. We must know that if we want to acquire a house under the Horizontal Property regime, in a community, that we must check the Statutes and internal regulations of said community in order to find about the rules specific to the community about the possession of animals.
The non-statutory prohibition of the ownership of pets would only be justified if concrete disturbances were generated to the rest of the neighbours, there cannot be any general prohibitions. Disruptions must exceed the normal discomfort of the neighbourhood, be noticeable and ostensible, and have some continuity or permanence according to Spanish doctrine.
Proof plays an important role here. If our pet is well cared for and one of our neighbours intends to prohibit our possession of animals, we can challenge it judicially by invoking Article 18 LPH. If we have a neighbour who has an uncared for pet or an animal in bad conditions, the first thing we need to do is to notify the authorities, as we are faced with possible criminal / administrative and / or civil offences.
2) Those who lease their property:
Although the Law on Urban Leases does not say anything about the possession of animals in rented properties, landlords can limit this possibility, so attention must be paid to the contract of lease and these three possibilities:
- Prohibition or express limitation of tenure of animals. In this case, it will be necessary to comply with what is stipulated in the contract.
- That it is expressly authorized. So we should pay attention to the Statutes of our community.
- If the landlord neither prohibits nor authorizes the ownership of pets, he/she cannot oppose a tenant living with pets, as long as the pets in question do not cause any disturbance, since the landlord can, if necessary, cancel the agreement in full according to the provisions of article 27.2 letter e) of the LAU.