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Old 17.01.2020, 15:34
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The real estate lied to us telling us we could have pets.

Hello everyone.

I have tried to write this post several times and it is always very long, so I will try to summarize it as much as possible (forgive my English, it is not my mother tongue).

1. Last summer we moved from our country to Switzerland and rented an apartment in Bern.

2. We informed the real estate before signing the contract that in the near future we wanted to add a dog to our family. The real estate agent informed us by email that we could have cats, and dogs depending on the breed (we assumed it was referring to large or dangerous dogs) so we decide to rent the appartment.

3. Some months pass and we find a dog that we want to adopt. A small dog of less than 40 cm and about 6 kilos of weight. We inform the real estate agency that we are going to add a member to the family and the same agent who rented the apartment tells us that it is impossible, and that under no circumstances can we have DOGS or CATS.

We, surprised by his response, sent him the email he sent us before we rented the apartment where he told us we could, and his response was that "if I had known that it was important for you to have a dog, I would not have rented the apartment to you" and that "it was not a definitive answer."

4. We went to the Bern building that advises the tenants (I canīt remember the name now), and the person who attended to us told us that although the agent had lied to us, we could not do much, since although the contract does not mention anything about animals, the building's standards sheet ( The agent sent us AFTER signing the contract and living in the apartment) says that only "small pets" are allowed.

She also told us that what she would do would be to talk to the neighbors and if they agree, take the dog secretly from the real estate, but apart from that we do not want to live in fear of being caught, in the few months we have lived here There have been several removals, so the neighbors of our building are constantly changing. We are also afraid of reprisals and losing the rental bond.


We are totally devastated. We have spent many years since our last dog died trying to find a rental that would allow us to have pets. We have spent a lot of money moving from our country to Switzerland, and when we arrive with all the illusions this happens to us with the real estate ...

Do you know or have you experienced something similar?
Do you know if there is a way to fight this?


We want to know if there is any way to solve this apart from moving again, since we have spent a lot of money moving to this apartment.

Thank you.
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Old 17.01.2020, 16:24
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Re: The real estate lied to us telling us we could have pets.

It is clear that having a dog is very important to you. Fighting in this situation will likely be complex and possibly costly (if you end up going through some sort of legal procedures). It may take considerable time for all of the details of what you have described to be sorted out and a decision to be made in favor of one party or the other. If you were to "win" and gain the ability to have a dog in your apartment, this would likely put you in a compromised relationship with your landlord.

Given all of those factors, if I were you, I would instead set my sights upon finding a new apartment, armed during my search with my previous experience and the knowledge that I needed to be absolutely sure (in writing) that dogs (and not just "small pets", which can be defined as fish, birds, rodents, etc.) are permissible.

I hope you find a solution, because four-footed family members are wonderful, and your willingness to adopt a homeless pet is admirable.
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Old 17.01.2020, 16:32
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Re: The real estate lied to us telling us we could have pets.

Does it specify exactly what type of small animals?

I suspect it's going to be a case of moving again if you really want a dog.
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Old 17.01.2020, 16:39
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Re: The real estate lied to us telling us we could have pets.

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2. We informed the real estate before signing the contract that in the near future we wanted to add a dog to our family. The real estate agent informed us by email that we could have cats, and dogs depending on the breed (we assumed it was referring to large or dangerous dogs) so we decide to rent the appartment.
Do you still have that email? It could possibly used to break the rental contract.
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Old 17.01.2020, 16:58
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Re: The real estate lied to us telling us we could have pets.

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It is clear that having a dog is very important to you. Fighting in this situation will likely be complex and possibly costly (if you end up going through some sort of legal procedures). It may take considerable time for all of the details of what you have described to be sorted out and a decision to be made in favor of one party or the other. If you were to "win" and gain the ability to have a dog in your apartment, this would likely put you in a compromised relationship with your landlord.

Given all of those factors, if I were you, I would instead set my sights upon finding a new apartment, armed during my search with my previous experience and the knowledge that I needed to be absolutely sure (in writing) that dogs (and not just "small pets", which can be defined as fish, birds, rodents, etc.) are permissible.

I hope you find a solution, because four-footed family members are wonderful, and your willingness to adopt a homeless pet is admirable.
Thank you so much for your response

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Does it specify exactly what type of small animals?

I suspect it's going to be a case of moving again if you really want a dog.
No, it does not indicate what small animals are allowed, and when we went to ask the tenant's assistance building in Bern for help, the person who attended to us told us that it was very subjective, because, for example, is a cat or is it not a small animal?

Anyway she told us that with "small animal" usually refers to small pets such as a rabbit, hamsters, etc.

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Do you still have that email? It could possibly used to break the rental contract.
Yes, I have every conversation by email. The thing is that even if we could break the rental contract and receive the return bond, we would still have to pay a new bond, a moving company, etc ... It is too much money for now, considering that we just spent a lot of money to move to this apartment.
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Old 17.01.2020, 17:16
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Re: The real estate lied to us telling us we could have pets.

In Switzerland there is the notion of "Treu und Glauben" (good faith and trust).
https://www.vertragsrecht.ch/vertrag...slegungsregeln

You might be successful if you bring it to court.
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Old 17.01.2020, 17:18
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Re: The real estate lied to us telling us we could have pets.

What does it actually say in the contract you signed?
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Old 17.01.2020, 17:48
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Re: The real estate lied to us telling us we could have pets.

I think you might challenge the validity of the contract, but not the rules it implies when valid.

Meaning that you might be allow to move out without penalties, or even (just theoretical possibility) get some compensation from the real estate agent, but... if you want a dog you must move.

I am sorry for your situation.

What I can tell you is, in general everybody is allowed to move out of apartments at least once a year without penalty nor the obligation to find a new tenant, usually this is in September, sometimes in March as well. And while you will have to pay another rental depot, after some months you will get the old one back, so it will not be a net loss.
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Old 17.01.2020, 18:05
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Re: The real estate lied to us telling us we could have pets.

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In Switzerland there is the notion of "Treu und Glauben" (good faith and trust).
https://www.vertragsrecht.ch/vertrag...slegungsregeln

You might be successful if you bring it to court.
I will take a close look at that, thank you

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What does it actually say in the contract you signed?
The only thing that says the building rules sheet regarding animals is that only small animals are allowed, and that if animals do "their stuff" in the garden, we must clean it.
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Old 17.01.2020, 18:05
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Re: The real estate lied to us telling us we could have pets.

so what is classified as small?

You could just ignore the agent and see what happens.
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Old 17.01.2020, 18:26
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Re: The real estate lied to us telling us we could have pets.

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so what is classified as small?

You could just ignore the agent and see what happens.
There is no legal definition of what all are small pets.

And sure she can ignore the agent, but it would be better to have some more time to find a new apartment.
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Old 17.01.2020, 18:29
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Re: The real estate lied to us telling us we could have pets.

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so what is classified as small?

You could just ignore the agent and see what happens.
Considering this dog is looking for a new home, might be in an animal-shelter at the moment (<<Some months pass and we find a dog that we want to adopt. A small dog of less than 40 cm and about 6 kilos of weight.>>) I would not advise that, in the interest of the dog!!!

How important is it for OP to live in that flat? Look for an other one.

I have a separate, written (not email) clear authorisation which clearly states I am allowed to have a cat in my flat. I adopted one a few months after I moved in. It passed away a couple of years ago. My landlord actually asked me about it and in the same sentence I told her it was dead I also pointed our: "But I still have it in my contract". There are loads of cats in the area and she most likely wanted to pass on my permit to someone else. No can do
Have that done too with your next contract.
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Old 17.01.2020, 18:30
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Re: The real estate lied to us telling us we could have pets.

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I will take a close look at that, thank you

The only thing that says the building rules sheet regarding animals is that only small animals are allowed, and that if animals do "their stuff" in the garden, we must clean it.
If the contract mentions that there are house rules and the house rules only allow small animals than there is no legal allowance to have a dog since dogs are not by any definition small pets.

However it all does not matter, pick a big fight with your landlord/agency and you're out, if not for the dog they'll find something else. This is Switzerland, you only might be in luck that throwing you out is seen as abusive and you get more time.
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Old 17.01.2020, 18:41
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Re: The real estate lied to us telling us we could have pets.

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The only thing that says the building rules sheet regarding animals is that only small animals are allowed, and that if animals do "their stuff" in the garden, we must clean it.
That would indicate to me that cat / small dog would be considered under "small pet". Rabbits / guinea pigs / fish / caged birds are not taken to the garden to defecate!

I'd be inclined to write to the real estate agent and inform them that you will be having a small dog, as permitted by the house rules (that you consider based on the rules of the house your chosen dog to be a small animal). And that you are basing your request based on Treue and Glauben of the previous correspondence.

I'd suggest having the letter written formally by a legal-ish bod. There is a "drop-in" type legal advice centre near Bern Hauptbahnhof - never used it, but they seem to have an open (and not extortionate) pricing structure to give legal advice and write letters.

It's right next to the Hirschengraben tram-stop, just round the corner from Starbucks. Let me know if you need me to look for the name of it next time I pass by (would be latest Monday).
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Old 17.01.2020, 19:03
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Re: The real estate lied to us telling us we could have pets.

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That would indicate to me that cat / small dog would be considered under "small pet". Rabbits / guinea pigs / fish / caged birds are not taken to the garden to defecate!
My thoughts exactly...
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Old 17.01.2020, 19:16
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Re: The real estate lied to us telling us we could have pets.

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She also told us that what she would do would be to talk to the neighbors and if they agree, take the dog secretly from the real estate, but apart from that we do not want to live in fear of being caught, in the few months we have lived here There have been several removals, so the neighbors of our building are constantly changing. We are also afraid of reprisals and losing the rental bond.
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I would not advise that, in the interest of the dog!!!

Curley is spot-on here.

Most homeless pet shelters will require proof that you are allowed to have the animal in your home before you are even considered as prospective adopters. Proof is usually a copy of the rental contract explicitly allowing the type of animal you wish to adopt or a letter from the landlord granting explicit permission for that animal. In the case of dogs, this is critical - for all the reputable dog rehoming groups I am in contact with permission an absolute requirement.

Do not, under any circumstances, try to keep the dog in secret. This is grossly unfair to the dog - because it will be the dog who pays if things go pear-shaped. Every time a dog bounces back to a shelter the chances of a successful next rehoming diminish.


---
And an FYI - in 'critter world speak' Kleintiere (small animals) refers to little furries that are not-cats and not-dogs, such as rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, mice, rats, etc. Dogs, cats, horses, and birds are almost always listed as such. Whether you would get anywhere with a legal definition, especially with the pick-up clause in the contract, is beyond my pay grade. I'll leave that to the legal eagles on the forum, or better yet, the experts at the Mieterverband.

Are you a Mieterverband member? If not, please consider joining. It really is a good investment.

---

If I had a nickel for every time a real estate agent was 'economical with the truth', I'd be living on easy street. It's not right, but it is not uncommon either. Consider this a lesson learned - get every discussion or agreement in principle written into the contract. Read the contract carefully, and demand the 'House Rules' documentation before signing. If an agent refuses... walk away. You don't want to live there.

---

I know only too well how hard dog ownership can be here if neighbors or landlords are anti-dog. Please, again for the dog's sake as well as yours, concentrate now on finding a way to get out of this flat and into one that is truly dog-friendly.

By the way, two places to look for dog-friendly housing that you might not yet have come across are the classified ads in Tierwelt magazine (Tierwelt.ch) and Tierinserate.ch You might even consider placing an ad yourself.

---

Wishing you - and your future four footed friend - all the best.
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Old 17.01.2020, 19:26
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Re: The real estate lied to us telling us we could have pets.

Is there anyone else in the building who has a dog or cat? Are the units owned by the same person?

Hindsight is 20-20. The permission to keep a dog should have been added to the contract with the supplementary agreement to keep pets. Then it would have been 100% okay.

However, you asked, and you have a written answer. To go back on one's word seems wrong to me.

You could get the dog, and let them try and evict you. Then you have to be prepared to move. If you intend to leave the dog alone all day, this could be another problem for you.

Oh, one more thing, do you have a garden apartment? Often dog owners want easy access to a garden. The next choic is the top floor with a big terrace.
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Old 17.01.2020, 19:54
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Re: The real estate lied to us telling us we could have pets.

First, did the agent specifically say that a small cat or dog was allowed, or just a small animal.

If "small animal", then I'm sorry. You're a victim of misunderstanding.

Otherwise, the agent persuaded you to sign a contract by lying (or he thought he was telling the truth but was wrong). In this case, there is certainly (in any sane legal system) some kind of redress. The conditions of tenancy will not change, but the agent might receive some kind of punishment. Verbal and email contracts are binding. The agent is guilty of breach of contract.

Focus on your goals. If you want a dog/cat, then that will not happen in your current apartment. If you want revenge, then take legal advice on taking the agent to court.

I am not a lawyer.
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Old 17.01.2020, 19:55
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Re: The real estate lied to us telling us we could have pets.

Where I live having a dog is forbidden and one can only have house cats. Nevertheless out neighbour has a dog and others have cats ( free roaming ) and nothing is said.
If you keep quite about the whole thing then in all probability it could be no problem. Unless of course a neighbour complains.
But agents can be pretty reluctant to put someone out. That costs the owner money.
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Old 17.01.2020, 20:10
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Re: The real estate lied to us telling us we could have pets.

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We are totally devastated. We have spent many years since our last dog died trying to find a rental that would allow us to have pets. We have spent a lot of money moving from our country to Switzerland, and when we arrive with all the illusions this happens to us with the real estate ...

Do you know or have you experienced something similar?
Do you know if there is a way to fight this?


We want to know if there is any way to solve this apart from moving again, since we have spent a lot of money moving to this apartment.
So, it's been years since you had a dog. Now you've decided you want another one, and you thought that was going to happen. Your dream has been squashed by, apparently, the lies of a real estate agent.

Which is more important to you? Money, or a dog? If it's a dog, then give notice now and find a place that allows dogs. They're not that rare in Switzerland.

Chasing the agent is secondary.
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