Finding a pet-friendly apartment is every pet parent's dream! Property managers who rent out pet-friendly apartments have specific pet policies for the apartment. In addition, landlords can charge you a pet deposit or pet fees, depending on the state you live in. Here’s everything you need to know about different pet 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. It is similar to a security deposit. The property manager must return the pet deposit once the lease ends, just like a security deposit. They can, however, keep a partial or complete sum of the pet deposit if they find any pet-related damages to the property.

A pet deposit can cost anywhere between $200-$500. Property managers set a price based on the type of pet, size of pet, and property value. Some state and local laws set an upper limit for a pet deposit. Make sure you check the laws for your state!

[Note: Property managers cannot charge a pet deposit for service animals under Fair Housing Act (FHA) Laws.] This is regardless of the landlord’s lease policies on pets.

How do I get my pet deposit back?

You will get a refund on your pet deposit unless there are damages caused to the property by your pet. Here’s how you can make sure to get a refund of your pet deposit:

  • Take pictures of the property before moving in, and make sure they are time-stamped.

  • Ask your property manager if the property has been fumigated to get rid of pests.

  • Keep track of any damages your pet might have caused to the property.

  • 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. Aside from being non-refundable, it is similar to a pet deposit. It also costs the same as a pet deposit, i.e., anywhere between $200-$500.

State laws prohibit property managers from using security deposits to cover pet-related damages when they charge pet fees. They must make use of pet fees to cover the repair costs.

If I have renters insurance, is a pet deposit still required?

Renters insurance is a great way to protect your money from any pet-related damages. Renter 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. You can always bargain the rate with your landlord if you have renters insurance.

What about pet rent?

Pet deposits and pet fees are one-time payments. Pet rent is an add-on fee to your monthly rent. Property managers charge pet rent to cover the cost of having pets on their property. This add-on fee is also not refundable. Property managers can charge anywhere between $50-$200 a month on pet rent.

If you're a pet parent living in a rental with your furry friend, make sure you’re well informed about the pet policies in your home. Be sure to always read the pet-related clauses in your lease, so you know what to do when any problem arises!