Pets and overseas property rentals: do they mix?

Should you allow pets in your overseas property rental? Let’s examine the pros and cons of pets in rentals, plus some pet tips for landlords

Jack Russel holding a toy house and key
To let or not to let to this little guy in your rental, that’s the question

The decision to allow or not allow pets in a rental property is a more involved question than it might at first appear. Here are some pros and cons to help you decide if it is or isn’t worth having furry, scaly or feathery tenants…

Pros of allowing pets in a property rental

  • It opens the door to more potential tenants.
  • Some tenants will pay more if you allow their pet to stay.
  • In some cases, you can secure a higher deposit from a tenant who has a large pet, in case of damage to the home.
  • A pet dog may provide added security for your property – burglars are less likely to break in if there’s a dog inside.

Cons of allowing pets in a property rental

  • Pets can make a mess, especially big, hairy ones.
  • They can leave an odour that’s hard to get rid of.
  • Pets can ruin soft furnishings like carpets and curtains.
  • A potential future tenant who does not like living in a house that pets have lived in (perhaps due to allergies) won’t consider your property.
  • Large pets can pose a nuisance to neighbours, especially barking dogs left alone during the day and cats that dig up neighbours’ gardens.
Allowing a pet in your rental could be the make or break between a family staying long-term through an overseas assignment

Some professional advice

I spoke to two property rental agents this week and they said they recommend property owners have an open conversation with tenants about pets, rather than simply saying no to them. Tenants are then less likely to sneak pets in and owners can add a clause to the rental agreement – that both parties agree to – to cover potential future damage. If the tenant doesn’t agree then they probably know that their pet is a bit destructive, which would be a good sign not to take the tenant on.

My two agents also said that many tenants are happy in the knowledge that they will lose their deposit to cover any possible damage done by their pet if it means they can keep their pet with them.

‘Pets in properties’ tips for property landlords:

  • Put ‘pets considered’ in your property rental description – that way you’re not tied down either way.
  • If there are particular pets you really do not want in your property (big dogs, pet pigs, pythons…), address that in your advert.
  • Add a ‘pet clause’ to your rental agreement so that everything is crystal clear between both parties. Include a regular inspection request, at least for the first few months, just to check the pet and owner are behaving!
  • Consider adding a non-refundable professional cleaning charge if the property is not cleaned thoroughly at the end of the tenancy.
  • Consider adding a pet deposit to the main property deposit.