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.

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.

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.

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.

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!