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New French law leaves trail of pet hairs and small deposits.


New French law leaves trail of pet hairs and small deposits.

Another well thought out French law has been released on an unsuspecting public. On 3 February 2011 La Cour de Cassation has ruled that owners of holiday rental properties can now no longer refuse to accept family pets. A consumer rights group, 'l'Union Fédérale des Consommateurs Que Choisir de l'Isère', brought a case against 'Clévacances' to enforce the rights of pet owners to stay where they want accompanied by their animals. Rental contracts can now no longer include clauses to exclude pets.

At the time of writing the Clévacances website seems to make no mention of pets but the Gîtes de France website continues to publish property listings showing pets as being allowed or prohibited - the terms 'Animaux autorisés'  and 'Animaux interdits' being used.

This new law may not entirely achieve its aim. Both owners who previously accepted pets and those who refused them, may well not be happy. The properties who welcomed pets previously will find they have much more competition as all properties must now accept pets. And property owners who refused pets obviously will not now welcome being forced to accept them. To some extent a similar problem exists even for those travelling with pets and looking for a rental. While previously it was easy enough to identify which properties accepted pets and were suitable for pets, now in theory, there is no distinction between properties. You and your pet can stay anywhere even if the pet is not actually welcome. Few pet owners would want this. Obviously the property should be suitable for your animal and the owner should genuinely welcome it otherwise there is little point in taking on the rental by either owner or tenant as problems are bound to ensue.

This new law could be a particular problem for allergy sufferers. How can they now be sure that a property has not previously accepted pets? Also, what about the time and effort required to tidy up the mess left behind by poorly managed pets? If there are already pets staying on the rental property, how will they react to newcomers?

For owners:
If you do not wish to accept pets to your property, there are various ways of dissuading tenants from bringing their animals:

For tenants:
Look out for 'pets welcome' signs on websites. Ask the owners if they are happy for you to bring your pet. Visit the property or ask the relevant questions to ensure that the property is going to be suitable for your pet. 

This is a law which in theory gives pet owners free rein over where to stay but in practice will muddy the drinking bowl.

The full text of the law can be viewed here:


Compulsory smoke alarms

Very few properties are currently fitted with smoke alarms in France. We have always recommended that tenants check out the smoke alarm situation before renting a property and, if necessary, take an alarm or two with them. A new French law has now been passed, however, that requires all properties to be fitted with a smoke alarm from March 2015. Quite why there needs to be a four year delay before the law comes into force escapes me.  

If you are a French property owner please take note that it is your responsibility to have suitable smoke alarms installed. If you are looking to take on a longer rental in France then you will be able to sleep easy at night, at least in a few years time.

(Published May/June 2011)

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