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We are two living in an apartment in Tirol where the contract says that there are no pets allowed. Now, for an unrelated reason, I need to have my cat with me. My roommate is ok with having him here.

I asked my landlord if he could allow me to have him but he said no.

If I decide to bring him anyways, and my landlord finds out, what are the possible repercussions?

Things to keep in mind:

  • I'm too much emotionally attached to him to give him away.
  • I don't have any friend near who could have him, nor I would give him to an animal shelter.
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    A possible second option: see if you can get an early lease termination from your landlord, and move somewhere that allows pets. There should be pet hotels that can house your cat while you work this out if there's timing issues. – user3757614 Aug 25 at 5:09
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    Does your landlord a private person or a company? Does he live near you? Is that a kind of shared two floor house? Depending on how much this affects him, the reaction will be different. But you could have rented a pet-friendly place to start with. – Quora Feans Aug 25 at 21:40
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    Other possible repercussion (which I have personally observed): landlord arranges for your cat to disappear, permanently. – bishop Aug 26 at 15:54
  • Male or female cat? – Harper Aug 26 at 16:49
  • Does austria have a similar program to The united state's emotional support animal? – DatsunZ1 Aug 26 at 17:10
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You signed a contract where you agree to not have pets and the landlord agreed to let you live there. If you decide to not follow your end of the deal, the landlord might not either. In simple terms, you can get evicted. There is probably a clause in the contract to the effect of "you will get evicted if you don't follow these rules".

Depending on contract and local law, you may also be fined, forced to remove the pet, or have your security deposit withheld. One reason landlords don't want pets is that pets leave odors and fur in the apartment, requiring costly cleaning. Not to mention some cats love tearing up the carpeting and otherwise destroying the property. Thus the deposit is used to "repair the damage" caused by the pet. Some landlords charge an additional pet fee for tenants with animals, so if you secretly keep a pet you are cheating them out of the fee as well.

If you want the cat for several months or more, then you probably shouldn't try to hide it from the landlord. There is a big risk you will be discovered and suffer repercussions. The landlord may also refuse to renew your lease later. In theory, and depending on your tenant, you could claim that the cat was there for a day and it will be removed right away. But as I said, landlords are concerned more about the damage to their property than policing you, so once the landlord gets suspicious (probably already happened since you asked him about it) they could inspect the place and demand you pay for damage regardless of how long the cat was supposedly there.

Well being of the cat is unlikely to create an exception to the contract. However, you could have some recourse by claiming that the cat is an emotional support animal and vital to your well being. I am not familiar with the process for this in Austria, but presumably it will involve paperwork from a psychologist verifying the fact. Simply saying you really like the cat and don't want to give it away will not be a sufficient reason - you initially agreed to not have pets, so it can be argued that you should not have taken one in to begin with.

I love cats too, but you probably shouldn't do it if your landlord already told you no. You could end up in a situation where you are forced to put the cat in a shelter, which wouldn't be good for the cat. If your landlord won't budge, your best option is to move somewhere else.

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    Not sure if the "renew the lease" part is relevant. Tenants rights are pretty strong in some European countries, which I believe includes Austria, and landlord may well have to go to court to get the tenant evicted (in many countries, which I believe includes Austria, rental contracts do not have an ending date so they are not "renewed"). – gerrit Aug 25 at 16:12
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    In addition to @gerrit 's point, there may be consumer protection laws that prevent no-pet clauses. E.g. in the UK such a clause is not valid. Consent must not be unreasonably be withheld. Arguments such as "pets cause damage" may not be sustainable if the tenant is willing to pay for such damage (e.g. via a larger deposit). – JBentley Aug 25 at 16:32
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    @gerrit In Austria, there are both limited and unlimited contracts, and there are a number of situations that would "upgrade" a limited to an unlimited one. – MauganRa Aug 25 at 18:16
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    @JBentley In my experience, UK is quite unusual within Europe in that respect. – gerrit Aug 26 at 8:14
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    @Mars If the tenant has damaged the property in violation of the contract, the tenant is liable for the whole of the costs the landlord is put to. The deposit just makes it easier for the landlord to get hold of these damages. – Martin Bonner supports Monica Aug 26 at 9:25
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The legal repercussion is that you could be evicted for breach of contract. The courts would not order you to give away the cat. What you should do, rather than waiting for this to melt down to a court case where you would not like the outcome, is instead to negotiate an accommodation with the landlord. You want something, so don't expect to get it for free. For example, the landlord might be willing to allow the cat if you pay more money. If you offered a substantial increase in rent in your initial negotiations and the landlord still said no, that might signal the futility of negotiation.

If this matter is non-negotiable, then the ball is in the landlord's court, to get you legally evicted for violating the lease terms. This will cost him, and he may decide that it is not worth doing. However, if he has a severe cat allergy and you have by bringing the animal into the unit caused him greater-than-usual harm, he would probably less inclined to pursue the increased-rent option.

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    If Austria is anything like Germany, then in all likelihood the landlord may well be a large company owning thousands of apartment buildings. – gerrit Aug 25 at 16:13
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    @gerrit If the landlord is a large company, in my experience, they will still be willing to negotiate to keep an otherwise unproblematic tenant, rather than risk having to evict and have a more problematic one. – sgf Aug 25 at 19:57
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    Note that if there are other harmful effects that result from having the cat (e.g. the landlord, or anyone who lives in the same building, has a severe cat allergy, and you cause them distress/harm), the OP could be held liable for that harm, whatever it is. – Makyen Aug 25 at 22:54
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At least in Austria and Germany, banning cats in rented apartments is quite a complex issue. See here. Generally banning them seems not to be possible, as they usually don't bother other tenants and you can easily restore your apartment when leaving, should the cat damage it.

possible repercussions?

Well, don't expect any goodwill on other matters from your landlord.

Maybe your cat is annoying and does get banned. Maybe you get sued, either successfully or not. Maybe your landlord is fine after seeing your cat behaves normally. Maybe he will never notice. Honestly, no one can tell.

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    "You can easily restore your apartment when the cat damages it". That's called nose blindness, same way smokers don't think their house and stuff smells like smoke. However any other human will find the place repulsive. I've lived in a house where the carpets, pad AND subfloor all had to be replaced. The enzyme liquid is useless. – Harper Aug 26 at 16:56
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    I have to agree with @Harper on this. Unfortunately it isnt terribly easy. Im severely allergic to cats and basically have in the past had to have wallpaper, paint and sometimes even drywall replaced, carpets and under-carpets replaced, and vents professionally cleaned, this often costs many thousands. Not to mention all other hard surfaces bleached and steamed and couldn't even think about keeping any appliances, fixtures or furniture that were there before... – Vality Aug 26 at 17:51
  • @knallfrosch, could you share what part of the document should I look into? (You linked a 21 pages doc withouth saying what I should look there) – JohnKirtThird Aug 27 at 9:02

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