Pets in my community. What’s allowed?


Spain now has more homes with dogs than with children. There are 6,265,153 children under the age of 14 living in Spain, while the number of registered dogs exceeds 7 million, according to the Spanish Network for the Identification of Companion Animals (REIAC). In recent decades, dogs have increasingly become life companions and part of the family.

However, these furry friends sometimes create problems between neighbours in communities of owners. Some residents may be bothered by the smell, annoyed by the barking or simply scared of running into them in communal areas. Pets require a commitment in caring for them and keeping them from causing a nuisance. The property manager is responsible for mediating any conflicts that arise. This tells you everything you need to know about pets in communities of owners and what the Horizontal Property Act (Ley de Propiedad Horizontal) says.

Are there regulations on pets?

Yes, there are several pertinent laws and regulations. Firstly, there is Act 17/2021, which is the law governing the legal status of animals and was passed in 2021. Furthermore, each Municipal Council has its own bylaws related to noise and the keeping of domestic animals, which we will discuss in more detail later. Lastly, there is the Animal Welfare Act 7/2023. This latter act establishes a basic set of rules, regarded as a minimal starting point, which can be expanded upon by Municipal Councils through their own local bylaws. In summary, if a local bylaw is stricter than the general law, the local bylaw will prevail.

Regarding the Horizontal Property Law, we must refer to Article 7 of the HPL, which includes a section that covers all activities that might be deemed bothersome, unsanitary, or hazardous. This Act outlines the rights and duties of members of the residents’ association.

We recommend: When can I make noise at home?

This law is very useful when dealing with constantly barking dogs or owners who do not clean up after their dogs in communal areas, potentially creating a source of infection. Because hygiene and safety measures are not being guaranteed in the community, measures could be taken.

Can pets be banned in a community?

No, it is not possible to ban pets in a community of owners, with the exception of rental flats, where the landlord can ban pets under penalty of terminating the tenant’s rental agreement and keeping their bond.

However, the community bylaws can include a series of rules that govern animal behaviour and limit the use of communal areas.

We recommend: Disruptive behaviour. How to solve noise problems in your community

Owners’ obligations

As a responsible pet owner, it’s crucial to understand and comply with certain owner obligations to ensure harmonious coexistence in your community. These responsibilities go beyond merely looking after your furry companion; they also directly impact the quality of life of your neighbours and the safety of your pet

  • Prevent your dog from barking too much
  • Clean up after your dog in communal areas
  • Keep your dog away from neighbours if they’re scared

What can a community of owners ban?

The most common rules are:

  • Unleashed dogs banned in communal areas.
  • Aggressive animals must be muzzled.
  • Dogs banned from relieving themselves in communal areas.
  • Unleashed dogs banned in communal areas.
  • Avoid taking dogs in lifts, although it is not prohibited by law.

Problems with constant barking

Barking is one of the issues that most disturbs neighbours and is therefore one of the most reported. The owner is often not even aware of it, as the dog barks due to separation anxiety when left alone.

What do I do if the neighbour’s dog won’t stop barking?

  • Talking works wonders. Like any sensible person, your usual approach should be to have a friendly chat with the animal’s owner to let them know what is happening and try to seek a resolution.
  • Go and see the community president. If you can’t reach an understanding, leave the matter in the hands of the community president who is responsible for having another talk with the owner.
  • Call the police. Rather than going through the courts, you can call the police directly. They will verify whether the noise exceeds the allowable limits and if it’s reportable.
  • Cease and desist letter. Requesting that the owner stop the dog barking requires a letter addressed to the owner setting out the situation and its harmful consequences. The letter must be signed by a majority of the community residents and the president as the legal representative.
  • Legal action. If the matter reaches this point, be aware that the Horizontal Property Act protects communities in such cases, even establishing compensation for damages. Bringing a legal action firstly requires the property manager to convene a meeting to clarify the measures to be undertaken and to be approved by the owners’ meeting.

What do municipal ordinances say about pets?

It is worth knowing what some municipal ordinances say about pets in communities to avoid problems or understand how to resolve a conflict with your neighbours.

The ordinances all agree that owners are responsible for any disturbance and damage that their pets cause and for cleaning up after them. They also state that dogs must be on a leash and, if considered dangerous, muzzled. However, some answer more questions than others.

Pets in the Community of Madrid

The Community of Madrid Companion Animal Protection Act establishes that:

  • No more than five pets are permitted.
  • Pets cannot be left in courtyards or terraces at night.
  • They can move through communal areas but not remain in them.
  • They can be taken in lifts but only with the permission of the other lift occupants. This permission is not necessary for guide dogs.

Pets in the Valencian Community

The Valencian Community aligns itself with the new Animal Welfare Law and legislates within its scope based on what has been approved at the national level with the Act 2/2023 on the Protection, Welfare, and Ownership of Companion Animals and other animal welfare measures. This law nullifies all regulations of the same or lower rank that conflict with what is established in this law.

We summarise some of the points that affect Residents’ Associations.

  • Feline colonies: The law mandates councils to manage feline colonies holistically, including sterilisation and care. Owners must cooperate in this ethical management, with mediation measures and rehousing if necessary.
  • Waste collection: Not removing faeces or immediately cleaning pavements, pathways, gardens, and communal areas is considered a minor offence.
  • Number of pets in the home: The number of pets allowed in a home will be determined by the characteristics of the dwelling, the needs of the animals, and the municipal bylaws. Having more animals than permitted in the same home constitutes a minor offence.

The minor infringements we have mentioned can be penalised with fines ranging from 100 to 3,000 euros.

We share with you the Municipal Bylaws of Alicante and Castellón.

Pets in Malaga

Like the Madrid ordinance, the Malaga Municipal Ordinance on Animal Welfare, Protection and Responsible Ownership limits every home to a maximum of five dogs or cats, and prohibits them from being left in courtyards or terraces at night.

Other key points:

  • Pets are banned from making disturbing noise, especially between 10 pm and 8 am.
  • Pet owners must respect and abide by community living standards and the rules of the community in which they live.

Pets in Granada

Apart from banning the housing of pets in courtyards, or on balconies or terraces, the Granada Municipal Ordinance sets a limit to be considered:

  • No more than three dogs can live in the one home, not counting any puppies born during the breeding period.

Pets in Bilbao

The Bilbao Municipal Ordinance does not limit ownership to a certain number but instead links it to ensuring that pets do not annoy others, or present a danger to people or other animals.

  • The ordinance prohibits the housing of pets permanently on balconies, in basements, on roof terraces or in gardens when they disturb neighbours or passers-by.
  • Pets can be banned from lifts at the discretion of the other occupants.
  • Dogs cannot be left alone for more than three days in a row.

Pets in Murcia

The Murcia Animal Protection and Ownership Ordinance is not very specific but highlights that pets must not affect optimal hygienic-sanitary conditions, cause health risks, or cause neighbours nuisance or harm.

Not all of the ordinances discussed go into detail on matters related to living with pets in communities of owners. Pay attention to the ordinance that applies to your residential area and the internal regulations of your community.

The role of property managers in keeping the peace

The property manager’s job is more than just managing and administering your property; they are also responsible for mediating any conflicts that arise between owners. This is why it’s always important to rely on your property manager to ensure you all live together as harmoniously as possible.

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