What Is the Difference between a Pet Deposit and Pet Rent?

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The pet industry is booming and landlords are cashing in by charging pet rent. You’ve heard of a pet deposit, but you might have just come across an apartment where the landlord wants you to pay pet rent as well. It may sound strange, but landlords see an opportunity to make more money on the apartment when a pet resides there. That’s not the same as a pet deposit. Here are the differences:

Pet Deposit

Some landlords protect their investment, the apartment, by requiring that you pay them a pet deposit. The reasoning behind it is no different from why you’re asked to pay a security deposit. If your pet damages the premises, they’ll have money that you paid upfront to make the necessary repairs. If you decide to leave the apartment without paying for the repairs, at least they’ll have some money in reserves for that purpose. How much you pay will depend on the apartment community and the landlord. A typical pet deposit often costs a little more than one or two hundred dollars, but often not as high as the amount you’ll have to pay for your security deposit.

Pet Rent

Once you pay your pet deposit, the landlord may require you to pay pet rent. It’s like the rent you pay, but for your pet. The landlord treats it as if you had a roommate living with you. Not only is it legal, it’s gaining in popularity among landlords in major metro areas. With a pet deposit, you get your money back if your pet doesn’t cause any damage to the apartment. However, you don’t get your pet rent back.

Wear and Tear

Part of the reason for the confusion between a pet deposit and pet rent is that landlords claim to collect both to repair damages to the apartment, and to restore the premises after excessive wear and tear. Landlords believe that a pet deposit alone won’t be enough in the end, and that it’s better to collect payments during the lease agreement to make sure that they have enough money for repairs. However, that’s really a pet deposit and should be kept separate. If your landlord wants you to pay pet rent, ask them the reason why, and see whether you can pay a pet fee and/or a pet deposit instead. You might be able to negotiate a low pet rent if you’re willing to pay a high enough pet deposit.

You may not have many options but to pay both a pet deposit and pet rent in many cities. This is an additional source of income for landlords who are completely aware of the attachment many pet owners have to their pets, and their willingness to hold on to them no matter what. The best way to deal with this, if your options are limited, is to try to negotiate a lower rent, for you and your pet.


2 Responses to “What Is the Difference between a Pet Deposit and Pet Rent?”

  1. February 26, 2010 at 4:51 pm, Luca said:

    the real truth is that many metro areas have laws that prohibit the charging of a deposit, including pet deposits, that is more than the monthly rent. so the charge that amount AND the pet rent as a way to get around this limit. before agreeing to all amounts, find out what your local laws are. Including finding out if any buildings are under rent control as those laws sometimes change the rules about deposits and pet rents as well


  2. August 04, 2011 at 1:27 pm, jane said:

    My new apartment is charging us a PET FEE, PET RENT, and a Pet deposit, as well as a regular deposit, isn’t this illigal? I live in Ohio. (armpit of the world)


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