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Understanding Pet Policies: Pet Deposits, Fees, Rent, and Insurance for Renters with Pets

Finding a pet-friendly apartment is every pet parent’s dream! If you’re planning to rent a pet-friendly apartment, you need to be aware of the specific pet policies that property managers have in place. These policies may include pet deposits, pet fees, and pet rent, depending on the state you live in. Let’s take a closer look at each of these policies.

What are pet deposits? A pet deposit is a payment made to the landlord to cover any damages to the property caused by a pet. It’s a requirement before signing the lease, similar to a security deposit. The property manager must return the pet deposit once the lease ends, but they may keep a partial or complete sum of the deposit if they find any pet-related damages to the property. Pet deposits typically cost between $200 and $500, depending on factors such as the type and size of your pet and the value of the property. It’s important to note that some state and local laws set an upper limit for pet deposits, so make sure to check the laws in your area.

[Note: Under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) Laws, property managers cannot charge a pet deposit for service animals, regardless of the landlord’s pet policies.]

How do I get my pet deposit back? You’ll get a refund on your pet deposit unless there are damages caused to the property by your pet. To ensure you receive a refund of your pet deposit, follow these steps:

  1. Take pictures of the property before moving in, and make sure they are time-stamped.
  2. Ask your property manager if the property has been fumigated to get rid of pests.
  3. Keep track of any damages your pet might have caused to the property.
  4. If your pet did not cause any damage, but the property manager still refuses to give it back, you can approach your local court for help.

What are pet fees? A pet fee is a non-refundable fee that a tenant pays to the landlord to cover costs for pet-related damages. Pet fees are similar to pet deposits, but they are not refundable. Like pet deposits, pet fees typically cost between $200 and $500. However, state laws prohibit property managers from using security deposits to cover pet-related damages when they charge pet fees. Instead, they must use pet fees to cover the repair costs.

If I have renter’s insurance, is a pet deposit still required? Renter’s insurance is a great way to protect your money from any pet-related damages. Renter’s insurance policies cover liabilities if your pet bites someone or reimburses you if your pet damages the property. However, the property manager can still charge you a pet deposit or pet fees if mentioned in the lease. If you have renter’s insurance, you can always negotiate the rate with your landlord.

What about pet rent? In addition to pet deposits and pet fees, property managers may charge pet rent, which is an add-on fee to your monthly rent. Pet rent is charged to cover the cost of having pets on the property. Like pet fees, pet rent is not refundable. Property managers can charge anywhere between $50 and $200 a month on pet rent.

As a pet parent living in a rental with your furry friend, it’s important to be well-informed about the pet policies in your home. Always read the pet-related clauses in your lease, so you know what to do when any problems arise!

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