Everyone knows (especially pet owners) that pets can be either the most careful little angels or incredible destroyers. Landlords often prefer not to take part in this "lottery," so they indicate in their apartment rental ads "no pets allowed." This approach has its pros and cons.
In this article, we will help you understand whether it is worth renting out property to people with pets in Cyprus, and if so, how to protect yourself from unpleasant surprises, which, as we know, no one is immune to.
Tenants with pets: a guarantee of responsibility or a danger to property?
Usually, landlords in their reviews are divided into two strictly opposing camps. Some claim that people with pets are responsible tenants. They pay on time, carefully monitor the cleanliness of the house, behave calmly, and are friendly to their neighbors.
Others, on the contrary, have had very negative experiences. Pets can make noise and disturb neighbors, go to the bathroom in the house and even mark their territory, damage things and repairs (flooring, wallpaper). And sometimes, even after a seemingly well-behaved pet, there is such a smell in the apartment that it takes months to get rid of it.
On the one hand, it makes sense not to allow people with pets into housing. On the other hand, some people can create more chaos than animals. In other words, there can never be a one hundred percent guarantee.
Or rather, there can be, if the contract is drawn up competently and taking into account all the nuances. And if you still plan to rent an apartment or house in Cyprus to people with pets, then we will give you 10 practical tips on how to protect yourself from possible troubles.
Basic property protection - photos before check-in
In Cyprus, when renting a property, some people practice attaching an inventory of the property to the rental agreement. It is usually accompanied by photographs taken before the new tenants move in. This is generally convenient for tenants and landlords of all kinds, but when moving in with pets, it is worth taking as many photos as possible, some of them in close-up.
What cats and dogs usually ruin:
- furniture upholstery;
- corners and slopes;
- soft flooring (leaving claw marks).
These are the things that should be photographed in close-up and from different angles. Because a general photo usually does not give a complete idea of the perfect condition of the property. And this will be a good insurance policy.
If the tenant has an exotic animal that is kept in an aquarium or cage, it is necessary to find out in advance about the behavior of such pets. For example, rodents can damage baseboards, and birds can peck at suspended ceilings. In this case, it is necessary to photograph the locations in the risk zone.
Assessment of adequacy and responsibility of pet owners
Most pet owners, at the first acquaintance, call their pets the most wonderful and problem-free creatures on earth. Supposedly, they don't leave any traces, smells, or other unpleasantness behind them. And such words are already a reason to be wary. The fact is that there are simply no "holy" pets. The question is only what is the degree of their "impact" on the property and how the owners cope with it.
From the author: As an owner of 4 cats living in a rented house, I can say that even if the animals are perfectly well-behaved, something still remains from them. In my case, it's hair that's literally everywhere. Getting rid of it is simply impossible without professional cleaning and removing baseboards. And there's always a slight smell from the cat's litter box (even if it's regularly cleaned) in a room that is not ventilated, such as a windowless bathroom. It will take time to get rid of it.
There is always a slight characteristic smell in a room from dogs, even if they are super well-behaved and super trained. As well as from ferrets and rats.
The point is that if a tenant swears and promises that their pet is "no problem", their adequacy can already be doubted. A responsible owner knows their pet and will not claim that it is completely problem-free. Instead, they will talk about how carefully they watch over their beloved pet and are willing to expand the contract and leave a deposit. Also, many conscientious pet owners themselves offer to include all the details in the contract and are ready to include a clause about cleaning payment upon departure.
What questions about the animal are worth asking?
The answers to questions about the animal will indicate the reliability of the future tenant. Based on them, you can understand whether you like the whole idea and whether you will trust such a person. So, what questions should you ask about a cat:
- What objects does it sharpen its claws on (a responsible owner will have several scratching posts);
- Does it have all the necessary vaccinations, and how often is deworming carried out - ideally, the pet owner should show you its veterinary passport;
- Is the animal neutered (regardless of gender), if not, the risk of a persistent "cat" odor increases many times, even if the pet only uses the litter box;
- Is the animal allowed to go for walks alone - a responsible owner will not allow this;
- How do the owners deal with shedding and hairball vomiting - again, ideally, the pet should be regularly combed and given malt paste to remove hair from the esophagus;
- Does the cat always use the litter box - the answer should be "yes".
The situation with dogs is slightly different. Here, the situation may depend not only on the pet's upbringing but also simply on its size. Many landlords prefer not to allow large breeds into the apartment, but in reality, this is not entirely correct from the point of view of practicality.
У владельцев грызунов стоит спросить, как часто они меняют подложку у своих питомцев (если реже, чем раз в три дня – будет запах), а также насколько свободно они отпускают питомца гулять по квартире. В принципе, в свободе передвижения мыши или хомячка ничего нет – но тогда владельцы после каждой «прогулки» должны прибирать за животным.
The point is that large and giant dogs are overwhelmingly calm, peaceful, and quiet. And, as strange as it may sound, there are usually fewer problems with two German Shepherds or St. Bernards (not counting their fur) than with one small Yorkie. Small dogs are prone to uncontrollable and frequent barking, howling in the absence of their owners, running around the apartment and sofas, restlessness, and in general, they are not disciplined as strictly as larger dogs. Large pets, on the other hand, are active outside and spend their time calmly at home, resting - and it is generally difficult to hear a deep "woof" from them.
It is necessary to ask the dog owner:
- if the pet chews on things;
- if they let it on the couches and chairs - if yes, there is a likelihood that furniture covers will be needed;
- how well the animal obeys commands;
- how often the dog is left alone - and how calmly it tolerates loneliness (this excludes howling, which bothers neighbors);
- how prone the animal is to barking - again, to prevent complaints from neighbors;
- where and how the pet is walked - this is necessary for the safety and cleanliness of the courtyard area;
- if the owners mate their female dog - the birth of puppies and their living in the apartment carry certain risks.
It's good if potential tenants come to see the apartment or house with their dog. This way, you can independently evaluate its level of training, activity, and decide whether this four-legged "tenant" is suitable for you.
From the author: I had a ferret, and my mother had a ferret. I can say that they have a specific smell. It cannot be called unpleasant, but it exists, and it lasts for some time if nothing is done about it. Therefore, it is worth asking owners of ferrets to pay for the services of a deep cleaning company when they move out. An adequate owner will agree to this. But, on the other hand, there are practically no other "side effects" from these cute animals: they do not make noise, do not shed, use litter boxes (there should be many of them - if owners say that their ferret uses only one box, it is likely to be a tall tale), do not chew on things, and do not scratch anything.
It is worth asking owners of rodents how often they change their pet's bedding (if less often than every three days - there will be a smell), as well as how freely they let the pet walk around the apartment. In principle, there is nothing wrong with the freedom of movement of a mouse or a hamster - but then the owners should clean up after the animal after each "walk."
Regarding birds - it is worth making sure that they do not make too much noise. For example, some parrots can be noticeably loud and thus disturb neighbors. The question of "loudness" disappears if you are renting a private house.
Regular checking of the apartment for unpleasant odors
Be sure to include in the contract that you will regularly enter all rooms and check for the presence of odors. Only in this way will you be able to track how clean the air remains in the room. Don't forget to specify in this clause of the contract that if there is an unpleasant odor, tenants must leave or completely eliminate the odor.
Remember that people who constantly live with animals may not feel unpleasant odors, as they are accustomed to them (especially when it comes to the smell of dogs). And they will vigorously argue that nothing unpleasant smells in the apartment. Calling in professionals who conduct air assessments is cumbersome and expensive. It is much easier to ask for help from an unbiased person, for example, a neighbor or a real estate agent who accompanies the transaction.
This person goes through the apartment together with its owner before tenants move in, sniffs around, and then writes approximately the following in an addendum to the contract:
"I, (NAME), confirm that there are no unpleasant odors in the apartment (address) belonging to (OWNER'S NAME). Date, signature."
If you have suspicions of a bad odor, you can again turn to an unbiased person (the same or another), who will inform you in approximately the same form whether there are any unpleasant odors in the room. With such a written confirmation, it will be much easier to prove to both tenants and the court that a bad odor has taken hold in the house.
Special notes in the contract
Depending on the type of pet, its size, and individual characteristics, it is worth making adjustments to the standard contract. One of the most important points is the cases of property damage and the nuances of compensation for damages.
For example, if an animal scratches a sofa, the reupholstery costs N euro, and the tenant is ready to pay you this amount, but you still have to find a company, choose fabric, call professionals. In other words, you have to spend your time and energy. And if it's not a sofa but wallpapering or flooring?
Therefore, it is worth stating in the contract that a tenant with a pet not only pays an amount equivalent to the cost of repairs/purchasing a new item but also deals with this issue independently.
Another difficult question is the amount of compensation. If you signed a contract 2 years ago and damage occurred only now, the price could have gone up long ago. Therefore, it is not advisable to specify a fixed amount: it is better to state that the tenant must pay as much as the similar item/material costs at the moment in the store.
Let's go back to the issue of odors. It is necessary to specify in the contract that if an unpleasant odor is detected, tenants either: undertake to eliminate the odor within N days; or move out within N days, after paying for the services of a cleaning company (you can choose a company in advance and specify its name, as well as the name of the service, to make it easier to determine the cost of damage).
As mentioned earlier, the owner or authorized person should enter the apartment for inspections. This point also needs to be stipulated. Usually, the owner of the apartment is allowed to enter once a month strictly in the presence of the tenant by prior agreement. This is the most reasonable option for both parties.
When living with dogs, it is relevant to include a section on neighbor complaints. For example, neighbors in adjacent apartments may complain about barking, howling, as well as improper pet waste disposal (leaving feces on lawns). In this case, it is reasonable to include a warning that eviction will occur after 3 complaints from neighbors to the police.
Advice: it is not worth relying on neighbor complaints without involving the police. Someone has to confirm the validity of the complaints, and no one does it better than the police.
If you are very concerned about the cleanliness of your property, include an obligation for tenants to call and pay for cleaning monthly in the contract. This way, you will get a guarantee that the apartment or house is being cleaned properly.
Finally, it is simply worth talking to prospective tenants about what items they would like to include in the contract. If they are experienced renters, they better understand the pitfalls and can offer interesting and convenient options for both parties. In addition, only the owner knows their property perfectly, and therefore can protect both themselves and the landlord from long and complicated disputes in case of an accident.
Obligations for repairs or cleaning upon departure
Conscientious tenants with pets usually offer to carry out cosmetic repairs upon departure or pay for major cleaning. In Cyprus, this clause in the contract is typical, meaning that any tenants upon departure will pay for cleaning, so you will not find anything new here.
Increased security deposit
In principle, a security deposit is a very reasonable idea. But when moving in with pets, it is worth adjusting it slightly.
Firstly, do not use this deposit as payment for the last month. If something happens, you will be left without a deposit and without tenants. Specify in the contract that the deposit will only be returned if there are no claims from the owner of the apartment and strictly at the time of departure from the property.
Secondly, if there are valuable items in the apartment, it is better to increase the security deposit. Usually, pet owners agree to this condition because they understand that it will give the landlord peace of mind. In addition, owners of well-behaved pets expect to get this money back.
Advice: it is acceptable to increase the amount of the deposit by 1.5-2 times, but not more. Tenants will not agree to excessively large sums.
Sometimes in the advertisement for renting real estate in Cyprus, owners write: the rent is N euros, and for tenants with pets, it is N + 10-20% of the cost. This is a good and reasonable way to protect oneself and get additional money, which in case of emergency, will go towards fixing "malfunctions."
This option works well in locations where demand exceeds supply, as well as in housing with very attractive features: good location, nice renovation, new complex with amenities and services (pool, gym), etc. If you have a typical property and demand for it is average, then raising the price will only scare off potential tenants. Therefore, you should be careful with this point.
As a rule, property owners who plan to rent it out to families with children or pets do not initially make luxurious and expensive repairs. And pet owners themselves are not willing to move into "luxury apartments" just to be on edge with every move their pet makes, fearing for the safety of expensive furniture or oak doors.
It is optimal to make the renovation fresh, beautiful, but simple enough - so that it can be easily renewed in case of unpleasant situations. Here are some things to avoid if you are going to rent out a property to people with pets:
- wallpaper - it is better to choose paint or plaster;
- leather furniture - quickly becomes unsuitable due to claws;
- parquet flooring - can also be scratched by claws;
- fragile floor decorations - they can be broken;
- expensive carpets - they collect fur, at least;
- doors and frames made of expensive solid wood.
You can also do expensive designer renovation, but using "indestructible" materials. This way, you will be confident in the safety of your property, and tenants will not be afraid to move in and live without worries.
Expanded home insurance policy
Make sure that your insurance policy covers a range of unusual incidents. It could be chewed wires or a ruptured hundreds-of-liter aquarium. Evaluate the risks in advance and choose an insurance program that suits you.
Interested in property in Cyprus? Check out DOM! The agency's website features the largest database of real estate in the country - more than 30,000 residential and commercial properties throughout the island! Here you will find information on the latest developer projects. Choose and contact professional brokers who will help you make...