Pets, financial compass

Permitted pets

(verpd) In almost every second household live in this country one or more pets. However, a tenant may not accommodate many animal species as a roommate without the consent of the landlord. In addition, there are various legal provisions that prohibit in some countries, a pet ownership of special species in principle. According to the industry association Heimtierbedarf e.V., domestic animals live in about 43 percent of all households in Germany. Tenants may, according to the jurisprudence keep small animals in the dwelling artgerecht – without that they need a permit from the landlord. A clause in the lease that generally prohibits livestock farming is ineffective, as small animal husbandry may not be prohibited, according to a court ruling by the Federal Court of Justice (Ref .: VIII ZR 340/06).

Small and big animals

The small animals include rabbits, turtles, hamsters, guinea pigs, fish and low-noise pet birds. Also non-toxic or harmless snakes, lizards and other small and harmless animals, which are kept in cages, aquariums and terrariums, are among the small animals and may without the consent of the landlord in the apartment with “move”. As the established case law shows, the maximum number of kept animals must fit the respective rented apartment. Cats and dogs, regardless of how big or small they are, do not count as small animals. Although a general prohibition clause for the keeping of dogs and cats according to BGH judgment (Az .: VIII ZR 168/12) ineffective, however, the prospective dog or cat owner must still obtain the consent of the landlord. Also, for the attitude of wild or dangerous animals, such as crocodiles, poisonous spiders and snakes and constrictors, usually the consent of the landlord is necessary.

Not every animal can be kept as a pet

Regardless of whether it is a rented apartment or a private house, there are animal species that generally can not be kept as pets. Animals that fall under the protection of species or the Federal Nature Conservation Ordinance may not be kept legally by law or at least kept in compliance with certain conditions at home. A list of the relevant animals can be found online at the Scientific Information System on the International Protection of Species (Wisia) of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation. A uniform regulation for the attitude of other wild or dangerous animals does not currently (yet) exist in this country. However, the keeping of dangerous animals is regulated in eight out of 16 federal states. In Hesse and Schleswig-Holstein there is generally a fundamental ban on keeping dangerous animals in private homes. In Bavaria or Hamburg, for the keeping of a dangerous animal as a pet, a regulatory approval is required, for example, from the community.

Animal husbandry: regulated differently depending on the federal state

In Berlin, Bremen, Lower Saxony and Thuringia, the keeping of dangerous animals is usually prohibited, but under certain conditions, for example, when it comes to less dangerous animals, a derogation is granted. In North Rhine-Westphalia, it is planned to ban animal husbandry for certain animals and to authorize it for others only under certain conditions. In all other federal states there are only regulations on local level as in Saxonia or Saxonia-Anhalt or no regulation as in Brandenburg, Baden-Wuerttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate. Whether at the respective place of residence a wild or dangerous animal, which in addition also includes fighting dogs, may be held, can be inquired among other things with the responsible official or district veterinary office of the respective city or the district.

If the animal roommate causes damage

Basically, pet owners are liable according to Section 833 BGB (Civil Code) for damages caused by the animal – regardless of whether the pet owner is at fault or not. If a cat is scratching the clothes of a visitor, or if the snake escaped from a terrarium that has not been secured by accident, can only be looked for by special forces, the livestock owner must pay for the resulting damage and costs. The holder of cats and small animals as pets, is insured for such damage through an existing personal liability insurance. However, not all personal liability insurance policies automatically cover exotic and dangerous animals. In some cases, damage from these animals can be included in the policy for an additional charge or insured with an independent pet owner liability policy. For animals that are not among the small animals, such as dogs, but also horses, a separate owner liability policy is necessary.

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Christina Cherry
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