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Difference Between Pet Fee, Pet Deposit and Pet Rent

April 11, 2022

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Things can get a bit complicated when it comes to allowing pets in your rentals. There are various ways to charge, different rules depending on location, and your personal decisions on what kinds of pets to allow.  

Pet fees, pet deposits, and pet rent are three of the most common charges related to pets and rentals.  

You should understand all of these options well. 

It’s important to the success of your business to decide how pets fit into your strategy and what you will charge to allow pets on your properties. 

In this article, we will look at what each pet fee is, how you can utilize it, and the differences between them.  

Pet Fee 

A pet fee is a one-time payment charged right before tenants move in that allows the pet to stay in the rental. A pet fee is non-refundable.  

Think of a pet fee as the price of admission for a pet to be on your property. Do your research on what is typical for your area and type of property. Pet fees are typically anywhere from $100 to $300, but research will help you get more specific. 

Pet Deposit 

A pet deposit is a one-time, refundable charge to protect against any damage caused by a pet, like soiled carpet or scratched flooring. If a tenant’s pet causes damage, prepare an itemized list of repair costs to detail why you are keeping all or part of the pet deposit. As with other deposits, if the pet didn’t cause damage, you must return their pet deposit in full.  

As mentioned earlier, laws sometimes vary by location, so bear those differences in mind. In Seattle, for example, landlords may charge up to 25% of one month’s rent for a pet deposit, in addition to the security deposit and other fees. So, if we’re talking about a $2,000 apartment in Seattle, then the maximum pet deposit you could charge would be $500. 

Also, keep in mind that service animals and support animals aren’t considered pets, per fair housing laws. This means that you cannot charge upfront pet-related fees based on a tenant’s use of a service animal, even if you adhere to a “no-pets policy.”  

When deciding on a pet deposit, your overall rental price must remain reasonable and competitive with other rentals in your market. It’s also a good idea to include any pet fee information in your property listing details, so prospective tenants can make an educated choice on how they want to proceed (or not proceed). 

Pet Rent 

Pet rent is a monthly charge for a pet to stay in the rental. Pet rent usually ranges from $10 to $100 per month, depending on location. The pet’s size, the number of pets, and other factors also influence how much to charge for pet rent. 

The major advantages of focusing on pet rent are:  

1) You’ll have money to cover additional repair costs or cleaning that may be necessary once the tenant and their animal leave. 

2) It’s a smaller charge split over time rather than a large lump sum, so it is often more affordable for tenants. 

Pet rent also incentivizes the tenant to be more responsible with their pet — no one wants to pay for damages when they’re already paying rent.  

Conclusion 

Allowing pets on your properties can open you up to more potential renters. Thus, it may be a great way to get better tenants. Pet deposits, pet fees, and pet rent are all good options to protect your most valuable asset and make extra money. 

You will need to figure out which option or options make the most sense. Think carefully about how to charge tenants with pets. Make sure you consider laws and rules for your area. And make sure your decision makes the most business sense for you!

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