Difference Between Pet Fee, Pet Deposit and Pet Rent

April 11, 2022

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What Is The Difference Between Pet Fee, Pet Deposit & Pet Rent?

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 in your pet policies.

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 to create a successful pet friendly rental.

It’s important to the success of your business to decide how pets fit into your strategy and what pet deposits and fees 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 before deciding to charge pet fees. Pet fees are typically anywhere from $100 to $300, but research will help you get more specific. 

Pet Deposit 

Unlike pet fees, 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. Tenants are often more motivated by this option due to the pet deposits refundable nature; they will get their money back if their pet is well-trained and damages are minimal. Landlords often have separate pet deposits, different from a traditional security deposit.

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 pet deposits, in addition to the security deposit and other fees. So, if we’re talking about a $2,000 apartment in Seattle, then the maximum separate 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. Monthly 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 opting to charge pet rent are:  

1) You’ll have money to cover additional repair costs or cleaning the rental property 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 pet owners. 

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


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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