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Tessa

Question:

Hi there,

I am a Brit living in Belgium and I have just signed a new lease. The landlord waited until the very last minute to provide us with the contract (only had 15 minutes to review it). He knew that I had to be out of my current apartment in a matter of days, so knew I was in a position where I had to sign.

Unfortunately, there were a number of additional requirements listed which I do not agree with, including a clause that if I have a pet I need notify to obtain permission and pay €50 A MONTH.

I know that in Belgian law no-pet clauses in residential leases to be unreasonable, abusive, and contrary to public order, and have consequently declared them null and void. It is seen to infringe tenants’ fundamental rights to privacy and to inviolability of the home.

I understand that I signed the contract so will most likely have to accept that I need to pay to own a pet if I wish to, however, are there any lawyers who can confirm this?

If a no-pet clause is an infringement on my rights, then surely making me pay to have a pet is also unreasonable/a barrier to me exercising my right?

Thanks

by Tessa on 22 Nov 2016
Myriam Friedmann

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Answer:

As you say, it is a totally abusive clause, in most leases that is preventing people to have a pet. Legally this is an attempt against private liberties. It can only become an issue in case the pet causes nuisances to other occupants of the building or neighbours.

In your case, my feeling is that you should be able to challenge this clause. I would write a registered letter to the owner telling him that you overlooked it when signing because you were in a hurry, but you asked (for instance) the legal advisor of your company and they confirmed this was abusive. You will see what his reply will be.
I you are not happy with this reply, you can still present the case to your local ‘juge de paix” this is the instance that is in charge of this type of issued. It is mostly free and usually you get an audition quite soon. A few weeks after introducing the request. You can go yourself and don’t need a lawyer to defend your case.

If you wish you can ask a lawyer to help you, but I reckon this will cost you a lot more than the 50 euros and will take forever.

The above is my best advice.

As an animal lover myself, I wish you the very best.

Myriam

by Myriam Friedmann on 25 Nov 2016

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