Pets in condominiums: rights, duties and challenges

Having pets in a condominium can be a delicate issue, with different perspectives. In this sense, Portuguese legislation on animals in collective housing brings important regulations that must be followed and, in certain cases, some challenges that need to be overcome.

This article will address the rights and responsibilities of pet owners and other condominium residents.

Animais de estimação em condomínios

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Legal rights and limitations

Portuguese law allows residents to have pets in their homes, with some restrictions. According to Decree-Law No. 314/2003, it is permitted to have up to three dogs or four adult cats in each housing unit, as long as the total does not exceed four animals. However, there are exceptions that may allow a maximum of six adult animals subject to the opinion of the municipal veterinarian and the health delegate.

However, the condominium assembly can impose rules for common areas, but does not have jurisdiction over individual dwellings, as this would infringe on each resident’s property rights. Any effective prohibition can only be established if the constitutive title of the horizontal property mentions it. An amendment to the constitutive title requires unanimity at the condominium meeting and subsequent land registration.

Duties of pet owners

In fact, having pets in apartments involves a series of rights and duties. According to Decree-Law No. 276/2001, animal keepers have the obligation to guarantee their well-being without compromising the safety, hygiene and tranquility of the building and neighbors. This includes looking after the cleanliness and health of the animals, as well as ensuring they do not cause excessive disturbance.

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Prohibitions in the condominium

The prohibition of animals in condominiums is only valid when it is defined in the internal regulations that are part of the constitutive title of the horizontal property. This assumes that all buyers of fractions in a condominium with this regulation accept the public rules. Otherwise, it is up to each owner to decide on the presence of pets. Regulations that prohibit animals in individual units are only valid if approved unanimously at the condominium assembly and only affect current owners, not future ones.

Apartment and animal rental

In rental contracts, landlords can prohibit the presence of animals in their homes. However, there are situations in which this prohibition can be overturned, such as in the case of assistance animals with medical and legal justification.

Noise caused by animals

Noise caused by animals, such as barking dogs, is a common concern. According to the General Noise Regulation, police authorities can intervene when noise is excessive. In these cases, the responsibility falls on the animal owner.

Resolve the conflict

When there are conflicts or indications of bans on animals in the condominium, the first step is to check the constitutive title of the horizontal property to determine whether there is an effective ban on animals by the condominium owners. If there is no such ban, the next step is dialogue with neighbors. Effective communication is essential to resolve conflicts between condominium owners, whether related to pets or not.

Animal abuse

Law No. 69/2014 criminalizes mistreatment of companion animals. If you suspect mistreatment, it is essential to report the situation to the authorities so that they can intervene to preserve animal welfare.


The presence of pets in condominiums can be a reason for conflict between neighbors, but the legislation offers clear guidelines to ensure respect for the rights of everyone involved.

However, in addition to legal issues and regulations, it is essential to highlight the importance of mutual respect and effective communication between residents of a condominium. Conflicts related to the presence of pets can be minimized or resolved through dialogue. Pet owners must be willing to listen to their neighbors’ concerns and take steps to mitigate any negative impact their pets may have on the community’s environment. We remember that adequate training and education of animals contributes to a more peaceful environment.

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