Difference Between a Pet Deposit, Pet Rent, and Pet Fee

We all can agree that having a pet adds happiness to our lives and energy to our place. After all, some people say that a pet is all it takes to turn a house into a home. But, it also comes with extra responsibilities, requires to commit a lot of time, and, of course, entails extra costs.

This is especially true when you’re a tenant who was brave enough to get a pet before settling in your own place. A pet deposit, pet rent, or pet fee adds up to the regular expenses of having a dog. Here we take a look at all these concepts that a renter with a pet should be proficient in, the difference between them, and how much the landlord could charge you for your pet.

Jump straight into the topic you’re most interested in, using a table of contents, or read the whole thing to become a real pro in the pet-related tenant subjects.

Pet Deposit

Let’s start with the most common scenario you might face as a tenant with a furry companion — paying a pet deposit when you move into a new rental. 

What is a Pet Deposit?

Pet deposits are refundable one-time amounts renters have to pay to the landlord. As landlords and property managers usually require new tenants to pay a security deposit, it is only logical that they will also want certain money insurance if their pets destroy something. 

The landlord will hold your pet deposit till the end of your tenancy and may use it if you move out and don’t take care of damages your pet caused. 

How Much is a Pet Deposit?

State laws and the rental market are two main powers that shape the amount the landlord is allowed to charge. There are no explicit laws regarding pet deposits in many states, while others took care of specific legislation regarding pet deposits. For example, it is capped in Nebraska and cannot exceed a quarter of one month’s rent. You can be charged from $150 to $500 on average in the states with no pet deposit regulations. 

To ensure you will get a fair price, do thorough research on the local laws to see if there are any limitations regarding the amount charged for pet deposits and if there are any regulations at all.

More like this: How to Create a Pet Resume For Renting

Pet Rent

The concept of pet rent has become more popular lately, so you should be well-acquainted with it as well. Some renters find this to be the best option, as it allows them to pay smaller amounts of money instead of one larger sum at the beginning of their tenancy.

What is a Pet Rent

Pet rent is an extra amount charged monthly in addition to regular rent, and it is non-refundable. Landlords might prefer you to pay a pet rent as it’s an excellent way for them to have extra cash every month. It also lets them cover some wear and tear if and when needed, which would not be an option with the pet deposits. Also, you should be happy to hear that some part of a pet rent can go towards paying for pet amenities if you have any in your building.

How Much is a Pet Rent?

As you might have guessed, pet rent turns out to be less than a pet deposit. Usually, landlords and property managers charge from $50 to $100 depending on the city you live in, your pet’s size, and the number of pets you have. Of course, this one you’d have to pay every month — keep it in mind before signing a lease!

Pet Fee

The last item on the agenda is pet fees. Some landlords might prefer it over a pet deposit or pet rent, while others do not require it at all. Here’s a short description of what you should expect from it and how much it usually is.

What is a Pet Fee?

The pet fee is charged one time when signing the lease agreement and is non-refundable. Some landlords choose to go with this option and consider it a fee, paying which allows tenants with pets to rent their place. It might be used to cover possible wear and tear or simply to let your pet stay in the rental property.

You should note that in some states, it is illegal to charge pet fees. A good example can be California, where any additional non-refundable fees are prohibited except application fees and late fees. So, in this case, landlords may charge only pet deposits or pet rents.

How Much is a Pet Fee?

The amount that can be charged as pet fees will mostly depend on the landlord (if no laws regulate this subject) and, of course, the situation on the market. If you live in a place where having pets in rentals is not that common, and animals would not be accepted in many apartments, it might be higher. Also, property managers might charge different rates depending on how many pets you have and their size.

On average, you can expect pet fees to be from $100 to $500. 

pet sleeping on the bed

Pet Deposit vs. Pet Rent vs. Pet Fee

After we covered each of these subjects separately, let us sum it up and discuss the difference between the pet deposit, pet rent, and pet fee.

For many landlords, a pet deposit and a pet fee can have interchangeable meanings. However, there is one significant difference between them that you should be aware of as a tenant. While pet deposits are refundable, pet fees are not. Be aware that some landlords might still mention a pet deposit while implying a non-refundable pet fee. Make sure to double-check with your potential landlord what exactly they mean, and read your rental agreement carefully!

The main difference between the pet rent and two other pet-related payments is that it is charged every month, so you’ll be paying pet rent as long as you live in your rental. 

More like this: Increase Your Chances To Rent a Pet-Friendly Apartment

Answers to Common Questions

And last but not least, let’s take a look at the questions tenants around the world face when it comes to additional payments and fees involving pets.

  • Can the landlord charge more than one thing for a pet (for example, a pet deposit and a pet rent)?

Yes, it is common for landlords to charge multiple pet-related fees. You might be asked for both pet fees before you move in and monthly pet rent. It all depends on the local laws and your agreement with a landlord.

  • Do pet deposits get returned?

You can expect to receive a pet deposit back if there are no damages caused by your furry companion. In case the property manager decided to withhold some part of the deposit or the whole sum, they should provide you with an itemized list of damages.

  • Do pet deposits or pet fees depend on the number of animals, their size, or breed?

Yes, as landlords can usually determine themselves how much the charge should be (of course, if it complies with the laws), they can decide on a specific amount. Some people prefer to ask for larger deposits or pet fees if you have more than one animal or, for example, a huge dog. Others might ask you for pet rent for each separate pet.

  • Can my property manager use a regular security deposit to cover pet damage?

Usually, it depends on your rental agreement and if you’ve paid a pet deposit. If you specifically paid a pet deposit — let’s say $200 — the property manager cannot subtract any more money from your regular security deposit for the pet-caused issues. They can only use $200 to cover all the damages caused by your pet. But, if there was no pet deposit to begin with, a security deposit can be used instead (in this case, as much as needed).

  • Is it legal to charge me extra for living with a service animal?

No, according to the Fair Housing Act, service and emotional support animals are not considered pets. Therefore you cannot be charged a pet deposit, pet fee, or pet rent. Also, you cannot be refused a rental even if it has a no-pets policy. Bear in mind that if your service animal causes some damage, it can be deducted from your security deposit.

Hopefully, after reading this piece you won’t have any more questions about pet fee, pet deposit, and pet rent! And, if you are looking for a pet-friendly apartment, you can always turn to Rentberry — we’ve got thousands of properties that will welcome you and your four-legged friend.

Also, if you are planning to start your adventure in a new city and relocate with a pet, don’t forget to check out our list of the most pet-friendly cities in the US.

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