Topic: Pet Deposits, Pet Fees, and Pet Rent: Appropriate or Inappropriate?

Stephan Pollard's Avatar Topic Author
Stephan Pollard
I'd like to open a discussion of the appropriateness or inappropriateness of pet deposits, pet fees, and pet rent.

To get things started here are few realities associated with pets and the rental property space they might occupy and share.

- Some renters and would-be renters have a pet(s).

- It may not be possible to rent an apartment (leading to lost rent revenue) that has a history of pet occupancy (allergies to pet dander, odors, physical damage, etc).

- Location depending there is some level (X) of demand for rental accommodations that allow pets.

- It is reasonable to expect a rental property owner to view having a pet a privilege.

- It is reasonable to expect some type of wear and tear directly associated with having a pet in a rental property.

- Dogs and cats are consumers of resources.

- Rental properties are a business, hopefully having sustainability as a goal and realizing that its responsibility lies with stakeholders (i.e., anyone influenced, either, directly or indirectly, by its actions.

- There are social benefits and social costs associated with pets. Some of these benefits and costs accrue to the pet owner, some of them accrue to the rental property ownership, and some of them accrue to other stakeholders, such as neighbors and future renters.

In view of the above and other numerous considerations that I've undoubtedly failed to mention what is your take on the appropriateness or inappropriateness of refundable pet deposits, non-refundable pet fees, and pet rent monthly or otherwise?
Posted 11 years 8 months ago
AB's Avatar
AB
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I strongly agree with Pet Fees and Pet Deposits. All carpets require at least a "pet treatment" in addition to the usual clean (if not completely replaced). In Texas, the TAA lease states the if the resident has a pet, they "will be charged for defleaing, deodorizing, and shampooing." There is your pet fee.I think $200-300 is reasonable.

I would say maybe 3 out of 4 apartments have additional damage outside normal wear-and-tear directly due to the presence of a pet. There is your pet deposit. Again, I think $200-300 is reasonable, although I have seen up to $500-600. I have never seen anyone do it, but what about different required deposit amounts based on breed or size?

That being said, unattended children do just as much damage as unattended pets. I would love to charge "kid fees" and "children deposits" if, you know, it wasn't illegal. ;)

And yes, I live in an apartment, and have a dog. I expect a pet fee and pet deposits, although I hate pet rent.
Posted 11 years 5 months ago
EricKNSeattle's Avatar Topic Author
EricKNSeattle
This is why you should have Renter's insurance. It covers pet damage, just submit the charge and it is paid. No Need for fees or pet rent.
E.
Posted 11 years 5 months ago
Peter Jorde's Avatar Topic Author
Peter Jorde
Never under estimate the price a pet owner is willing to pay to have a pet. With most understaning the potential damage and hating the inevitable arguments at the end of the lease we have found that we can actually take a non-refundable carpet fee at the beginning of the lease(in addition to the refundable deposit) equal to the cost of the carpet. We tell the resident that we will be using the money to replace the carpet regardless of the condition and we do. Here's the result: no arguing at the end of the lease, pet owner dowsn't stress throughout the term of the lease and the new resident rents at the higher price for a unit with a new carpet and loves it.

Of course this may not be possible in all cases but if your pet owners are limited on choices this can be a win win option to consider.
Posted 11 years 5 months ago
Chiccorra Connor's Avatar
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Peter, I love that idea! :woohoo: It is one that I may utilize on certain properties. As for how we do things, we always charge both a monthly pet rent and a non refundable pet fee for each pet. Our non refundable pet fees range from $150 - $300 per month and our monthly pet rent ranges from $15 - $30 per pet per month. The monthly fees add more monthly revenue which our owners love and the non refundable pet fee normally takes care of the extra clean up after the tenants vacate. We have the fees clearly stated in the leases so that there are no problems. I have found that tenants do not mind paying the extra charges. You have to remember that most pets are treated like family, and there owners don’t mind paying the price to take care of them.

Chiccorra Connor
Posted 11 years 5 months ago
Last edit: by Brent Williams.
Jack P.'s Avatar Topic Author
Jack P.
What if your going to get charged a pet deposit of $200(refundable), pet fee of $300(non-refundable) and pet rent of $25 per month.

This just sounds completely ridiculous to me and HIGHLY illegal... Any thoughts?
Posted 11 years 1 week ago
Stephani Fowler's Avatar
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Jack~ Not sure how this can be seen as illegal. You are not legally required to allow pets (except those that are service animals) so how is it illegal to charge anything you want for the privilege of having a pet? Don't get me wrong I think the senerio you mentioned is crazy, but ultimately it's the landlords right as far as I know. I am a dog lover and volunteer with as well as foster dogs all the time. One thing I have done as a property manager is offer reduced pet fees of $200 (ours is usually $250 per pet) for those who privide proof of adoption as well pets that are spayed/neutered. I still charge the regular $15 pet rent for month.
The first and only apt I ever lived in charged $500 non-refundable and $50 per month. I didn't like it, but paid it anyway. Unfortuanely I was not in the business at that time and was charged for scratches to a sliding door that were there at move-in, (was never offered a move-in inspection forms) but that's another story.
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Posted 11 years 1 week ago
Chuck Mallory's Avatar
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My experience has been that people will pay pet fees or deposits, but balk at pet rent and see it as an insult. I know of one property that started pet rent and they immediately dropped in occupancy and notices shot upward. I've talked with several people about it--pet owners really hate that one element. I suspect that in the coming years "pet rent" will become illegal, just as "kid rent" is of course now.
Posted 11 years 1 week ago
Green Nadeen's Avatar
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Just remember - a service animal is not a pet! So no pet rent, pet fees or the like for people with disabilities needing their animal.
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Posted 11 years 6 days ago
JM's Avatar Topic Author
JM
If you put a claim into your insurance, which is not rental insurance, it is business insurance, your premiums go up. With that, the landlord has to charge the entire building an increase in rent due to one unit. Now, is that fair? Instead, one unit takes the responsibility for their privilege of a pet on someone else's property.
Posted 10 years 2 months ago
Mindy Sharp's Avatar
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There is an insurance company (ePremium) I recommend to Residents. It specifically covers pet damage up to a certain amount and will not raise the premium for the resident since it is payable at move out.
Posted 10 years 2 months ago
Linda Walsh's Avatar Topic Author
Linda Walsh
We charge anywhere between 150.00 to 250.00 depending on the breed and weight of the pet.
Our tenants sign a pet consent form which explains what the fee is for and their responsibility relative to the pet. We do not charge monthly pet rent. We use the money to have the carpet treated if it isn't replaced. We also charge a cleaning fee that the tenant can pay over the term of their lease. I have found that tenants do not want to clean the property they are moving out of because they have to clean the property that are moving in to. It seems to work for us.
Posted 10 years 1 month ago
Linda Walsh's Avatar Topic Author
Linda Walsh
Linda Walsh wrote:

We charge anywhere between 150.00 to 250.00 depending on the breed and weight of the pet.
Our tenants sign a pet consent form which explains what the fee is for and their responsibility relative to the pet. We do not charge monthly pet rent. We use the money to have the carpet treated if it isn't replaced. We also charge a cleaning fee that the tenant can pay over the term of their lease. I have found that tenants do not want to clean the property they are moving out of because they have to clean the property that they are moving in to. It seems to work for us.

Posted 10 years 1 month ago
Steven Van Zile's Avatar
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The higher the rent, the higher the property is valued meaning to avoid the annoying, a la carte, pricing that could turn renters off, maximizing your rent rate, and charging for pet costs as the damage incured (substantiated by an invoice), or against the security deposit, are ways to make the owner/landlord profitable, or whole, without being so obvious. Many value add owners don't even care about fees.
Posted 10 years 1 month ago
Ile's Avatar Topic Author
Ile
Is it right pay the pet fee for visitor pet?!? I think it's crazy!! I think that the Renter's insurance should cover everything!!
Posted 10 years 1 month ago
HSpencer's Avatar Topic Author
HSpencer
The biggest problem I have encountered with pets is the fact a lot of people won't take care of them properly. Our pet fee is $150.00, but all a tenant has to do is go to a doctor and have the doctor write them a letter that they need one for "emotional" health and companionship. Boom, the pet fee is waived in that case.
Well, so much for the pet fee. Another conjugation is the stupidity of the "fee" vs the "deposit". A fee is non-refundable, and a deposit can be refundable. I have yet to convince many people to call it a fee instead of a deposit. That gets you into trouble fast. In my post here I am speaking of an elderly and disabled complex, yet the same troubles I have seen in our family complexes.
I have seen dogs the size of horses, and those "pit bulls" being tried to bring into my complexes. I stopped the pit bull thing by requiring a $50,000 liability insurance policy to be taken on the PB before I would even consider them on a property. I could do this, because the city required the same thing. This has stopped the pit bull idea. Little old ladies and a yapping furry white dog is one thing, but having a zoo on the property is quite another. I once replaced most of the trim molding in a unit due to a cat clawing it away. The same cat clawed up part of the carpet. This was one of those cases where the "doctor" says in writing the little old lady needed emotional support provided by the cat, and zapped the pet deposit right away. Needless to say on the lady's demise and vacating, there was "no" money to cover the damages.
You need at least $150-$200 on a pet fee (not deposit) for each pet. I have never heard of "pet rent". With a doctor's "they need" letter, that would probably be zapped away as well.
Posted 10 years 1 month ago
looloo's Avatar Topic Author
looloo

What if your going to get charged a pet deposit of $200(refundable), pet fee of $300(non-refundable) and pet rent of $25 per month.

This just sounds completely ridiculous to me and HIGHLY illegal... Any thoughts?

yes any judge would consider this "double dipping"
Posted 9 years 5 months ago
Anonymous's Avatar Topic Author
Anonymous
I manage a property in Michigan and in my market most of us charge not only a pet fee but monthly pet rent as well. My property charges a $200 non-refundable pet fee and for 1 pet it is an additional $25 per month, for 2 pets an additional $35 is charged. Our pet agreement outlines that the owner is responsible for any damages caused by the pet, it explains that the pet "fee" does not apply to any charges nor does the pet rent. We maintain breed restrictions only vs size and weight and it works well for us. But we have built our reputation in the area for years as being a no nonsense property which is why I think this goes well for us.

Now don't get me wrong, we do still get apartments that vacate with incredible damages. Carpet needs to be replaced, trim is chewed/clawed, etc. But we are fair with our charges too. I guess you have to find what works for you and hold on strong with it.
Posted 9 years 4 months ago
Lynell's Avatar Topic Author
Lynell
If that is the condition of renting a property I see nothing illegal about the charges. There are always other options if you do not like the details of any particular rental agreement. After spending a great deal of work and money repairing woodwork and carpeting after pets I see the fees as quite reasonable.
Posted 9 years 4 months ago
Johnny Karnofsky's Avatar
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I think pet rents and deposits are unreasonable. The owner of my property has a very strict 'no new pets' policy; which becomes pointless in the event I have a resident or applicant with enough intelligence to document the fact of a need (not the nature of a need) for a companion / service animal. Once the need is documented and supported by a medical professional; we are toast and there is nothing that can be done to prevent that animal from coming in.

Once that animal's status is established as a companion or a service animal, even if it is in training to become one; it is covered under ADA law.
Posted 9 years 4 months ago
Lian's Avatar Topic Author
Lian
I'm a renter and have a small dog. I paid $250 non-refundable fee to have my dog. My dog didn't damage the property (nor did I), but a few "accident" spots on the carpet. I'm required to professionally shampoo the carpet which is fine before we move out, but I'd like to know what the landlord will use the $250 fee for if I have to get a professional to clean the carpet?
Posted 9 years 3 months ago
Teresa's Avatar Topic Author
Teresa
I think pet rent is ABSURD! My pet has no income! The pet deposit should cover any cleaning & deoderizing necessary. They don't charge extra for each child you have... the monthly rent covers that.
So why are pet owners hit so hard with monthly pet rent??
If I had a huge dog, or pet goat or a horse... yeah, maybe the extra fee per month would supplement the extra parking space needed for my animal; but a cat? Get real..... :angry:
Posted 9 years 2 months ago
Anonymous's Avatar Topic Author
Anonymous
Although there may or may not be damage from a pet, I don't feel that people who are responsible pet owners deserve to be penalized for that pet.
I live in an affordable, low income apartment complex. They recieve tax credits, and are not allowed to go beyond a set high for the rents. I pay the top. I am also being charged an additional non refundable pet fee of 100.00. I have no problem paying an additional deposit. But 1200.00 a month non refundable seems excess.
I pick up after my dogs, I don't let them go in areas where there are people and children.
I think it is illegal in MA. but can't get an answer.
Posted 9 years 1 month ago
Anonymous's Avatar Topic Author
Anonymous
The thing I fail to understand, and which no one has brought up, is the fact that there is even a "pet fee, deposit, or rent." Why isn't there a "child fee, deposit, or rent." Having children is not a right, it is a privilege. Yet, there are no fees; and unattended children can #$%! up a place just as bad as an animal. It's ridiculous!
Posted 9 years 4 weeks ago
Kasey's Avatar Topic Author
Kasey
Charging someone a "child fee, deposit, or rent" would be a violation of Fair Housing Laws. You cannot discriminate against someone based on their familial status (in this case, the fact that they have children). Pet owners are not a protected class.

Additionally, you said that having children is "not a right, it is a privilege" - Anyone with the ability to have children does, in fact, have the right to have them (whether or not they actually SHOULD be allowed to pro-create is up for debate). While I agree that children can damage a unit just as much as a pet, owners/landlords are not able to charge anything additional to cover themselves, should the property see major damage after the tenant vacates. Unfortunately irresponsible pet owners have ruined it for the responsible ones - though you may know that you are a responsible pet owner, the landlord (who is more than likely meeting you for the first time) does not. You can't blame them for wanting to protect their asset.
Posted 9 years 3 weeks ago
Anonymous's Avatar Topic Author
Anonymous
:ohmy:
I looked at a house yesterday and liked it. They would allow pets, which is very rare in Oahu, Hawaii. So we grabbed an application. They gave an application for me and my husband which is normal; however, they also gave us an application per dog. I thought it was strange but took it. When I got home to fill out the applications. I saw they charge $15 per "human" application and $20 per pet application!!!

I really loved the property but think that doesn't seem right at all. I have looked the company up on the BBB and found nothing. I also did a general internet search looking for complaints for this company and general info on pet rental application fees. I found this forum.

Has anyone heard of or dealt with a pet application fee?

Thanks!
Posted 9 years 2 weeks ago
Anonymous's Avatar Topic Author
Anonymous
Pet rent is just free money for the rental person. The deposit to to cover any type of abuse. That could be pet, kids, parents etc. If something is broken it comes out of the deposit.

The pet rent is never used to fix anything. If you pay 300 for a pet fee and ruin the carpets that will come out of the deposit and not the 300 fee. Thus this fee is just padding to make more money for greedy people. They will never admit this as that would require them to admit they are greedy.

It should be illegal.
Posted 9 years 1 week ago
LRIchards's Avatar Topic Author
LRIchards
Most renters' insurance do NOT cover pet damage. You must ask for additional coverage.
Posted 9 years 4 days ago
Anonymous's Avatar Topic Author
Anonymous
So totally agree with you Liam. I am presently in a situation where I paid a non-refundable courtesy pet-fee, that specifically stated it is not to be used towards any repairs or cleaning caused by the pet. So what is its purpose but to give them more profit?
When I moved out the lease stated they would charge $25 per carpet stain. I found 3 after the furniture was moved and figured I would get $75 deducted from my deposit. They determined they were pet stains so they replaced the carpet and are now demanding I pay for the carpet. I admit to the stains but they were not pet stains. Two under dining table and one by entry from shoes - normal wear and tear, which they are not allowed to charge for.BUT if they declare they are pet stains then they can!
Posted 8 years 11 months ago
P Heidi's Avatar
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Posted 8 years 11 months ago
Last edit: by P Heidi. Reason: issue resolved
Johnny Karnofsky's Avatar
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I would contest this charge and ask when the carpet was new. If the carpet was not new when you moved in and it has been more than 5-7 years since it was installed, you should not be charged for it. My parents moved out of a property last month, had a pet certified as a companion animal and the carpet was last new in 2007 (they moved into the unit in 2010). Despite a huge bleach stain they admitted to causing (an accidental spill) and some blood stains (from excessive bleeding in my father's feet resulting in the amputation of 2 toes), they were not charged for carpet replacement, although they attempted to until I called the regional manager on it. This property did have a fee and deposit for pets that was thrown out when the dog was certified as a companion. I worked at a property with an owner that specifically did not want pets on the property at all (despite the significant number on the property when I arrived that were not service/companion animals); he actually threatened my job if he learned that I suggested to applicants that the animals needed to be companions/service animals to be allowed. This owner also wanted to deny applicants solely on the basis of being housing choice voucher recipients, even if there was no other reason to deny them; but that is another discussion.
Posted 8 years 11 months ago
RUKIDDINGME's Avatar Topic Author
RUKIDDINGME
You do realize how much trouble you can get into for that. That is was the deposit is for. You are leagally allowed to charge 2 months rent as the deposit and I don't know a single child that can cause that much damage. Obviously with you even suggesting that you should be allow to charge a fee for children like they are animals, you shouldn't be renting anything to anyone. Even suggesting a child fee can cause you to no longer be licensed to rent to the public. That's just greed talking. Good luck finding reliable tenants with an attitude like that.
Posted 8 years 10 months ago
David Kotowski's Avatar
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In most states owner/managers can charge whatever they want as refundable security deposit. In reality, it's only as much as the market will allow. 2 months rent is pretty much standard in the Northeast. In the Southeast, you're more likely to pay $100-$300 (one month's rent at the most and that's only in the case of an application that couldn't be approved according to rental criteria).

Yes, non-refundable pet fees and monthly pet rent are really just income for apartment communities. Just like luggage fees are extra income for airlines. Consumers have a choice whether or not to pay them. If you don't like paying monthly pet rent, then don't live at that apartment community.

There was an earlier comment about being "required to shampoo" carpets before moving out. Why are you required to do that? Is it in your lease or is that just what you think you're supposed to do? The apartment has to be returned in the condition you accepted occupancy, although normal wear and tear based on the time you lived there is taken into consideration. Regardless of whether or not you had a pet, all you're "required" to do it remove all of your belongings, clean the bathroom surfaces, clean your kitchen appliances and counters, and vacuum the carpet.
Posted 8 years 10 months ago
Anonymous's Avatar Topic Author
Anonymous
I think that it should be illegal. Don't sit there and tell me that it is my privilege and that landlords are allowing me to have a pet. Either allow pets or don't allow pets. To make people pay an extra fee is absurd. Pet deposits are to pay for damage done by the pet.

Children that live here cause more damage to the grounds than the pets. Upkeep of the grounds should be part of the rent. If you don't want damage done by pets, then don't allow them. Communities like mine that aren't gated have pedestrians that walk their pets by and they damage the grass as well. Landlords can't and shouldn't be allowed to put this fee on residents that have paid a deposit. It is a gross abuse of power and cannot be justified.

My complex says the fee is for maintaining pet stations and cleanup. There are never any bags and the "pet stations" are full as other residents use them to put their garbage. Why aren't they having to pay for that?

The entire practice sickens me. It is just another way to make money. I have lived in the same complex for 14 years and they just started this 3 years ago. There is no reason for it and it was started so landlords can fill their pockets. Nothing more.

It should be illegal. And if you charge it, you should be ashamed of yourself.
Posted 8 years 10 months ago
Nathan Borne, CPM®, MBA's Avatar
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This message is directed towards "anonymous":

I am not sure if you are in the industry or not, but if you were you would easily understand the necessity of this practice. The fact is, dogs/cats cause damage to a residence. Period. Regardless if the owner says its the "best house trained dog in the world", 9 times out of 10, there will be traces of urine, vomit, pet hair, and other animal-caused problems in the carpet that are near impossible to remove without full replacement (in which case, can cost upwards to a grand for a two bedroom apt)

Then, if you do have to replace the carpet in a home due to damage to a pet, there is no guarantee that the tenant will pay you back for damages. In which case, the property is at a loss. I don't see how you can make the comparison of children causing more damage than animals--I've never experienced urine damage from children.

Sure there is an income component to this; we charge a fee of $300 for each pet at my property. But it also helps to offset costs of damages that will never be recouped from other folks who have pets.
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Posted 8 years 10 months ago
REUBEN KREPS's Avatar Topic Author
REUBEN KREPS
My understanding is that renter insurance will not pay for dammage your pets or children do to your apartment only what damage they may inflict on neighbor tenents or others in the hood around you.
Posted 8 years 9 months ago
Anonymous's Avatar Topic Author
Anonymous
This is why the tenant has renter's insurance. It is has been a requirement pretty much everywhere I have rented.
Posted 8 years 9 months ago
Anonymous's Avatar Topic Author
Anonymous
Exactly! It is illegal to charge children's deposits, and it should be illegal to charge pet rent. There are thousands of animals put to sleep every day, and I am sure more people would be willing to adopt if rentals had more friendly policies.
Posted 8 years 9 months ago
Chuck Mallory's Avatar
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You know, Anonymous, many of us in property management like animals and even own pets. Everything can't be made illegal. If we are going to create laws for animals similar to human discrimination laws, then the consumption of meat must be made illegal in the U.S. and the entire meat industry will be shut down.

And if you say, "Well, farm animals are different than dogs and cats, which are household pets," then that is the same argument as "children happen to have rights because human beings are different than animals."

It's a free market. If one community has pet rent, there will be another that does not charge it. Just as some apartment communities charge you for water and some don't. You can choose the place you live.
Posted 8 years 9 months ago
Rose M's Avatar
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Pet fees are not legal in my state, however pet owners are not a protected class, so it is legal to discriminate against them.

Some communities in my market charge pet rent. Mine does not. We also do not have a specific "pet deposit," but we do require pet owners to pay an additional security deposit. The reason for this is due to the way the law is written.

I don't think it's about rental owners not wanting friendly or fair policies, I think it's more about the cost of damages that exceed applicable deposits. The cost to replace the carpet in one of my units due to pet damage quite a bit higher than the amount of our security deposit, and once someone moves out, they aren't particularly inclined to pay for the damage.

We can legally require renters insurance starting mid-2014, but I am not sure we'll start doing so, because it is extremely time consuming to verify on a monthly basis. Renters insurance here does cover damages to property, not just to people.

As you gain industry experience, you will understand that owners and property managers lose more money in repairs than they gain in pet fees.

Requiring deposits or fees for pets is not unreasonable.
Posted 8 years 8 months ago
Tobsy4mogd's Avatar Topic Author
Tobsy4mogd
Most apartments that charge a pet fee do not use that towards ANYTHING!! It is NOT used to pay for the deordorizing the cleaning the defleaing. Nothing. Nada. It's just additional rent. Period.
Posted 8 years 7 months ago
JL's Avatar Topic Author
JL
the same situation is going on with us right now. Our landlord wants a $350 non refundable fee and $75/mo for pet rent as well as carpets steam cleaned at move out. We were never supplied with a previous damages sheet to fill out at move in, nor were our carpets cleaned before we moved in. Is there anything you found out you could do as a result of that?
Posted 8 years 7 months ago
JVinDenver's Avatar Topic Author
JVinDenver
The costs of pets for an apartment community stem from additional insurance liability costs, carpets and repairs (chewed, scratched, smell), resident retention (barking dogs, unsightly grounds) and grounds maintenance (time for cleanup, costs to repair lawns, stocking pet stations). Consider that, although some don't make the repairs (and they aren't required to), they will then have to rent the apartment for a cheaper price going forward than a competitor with all new finishes. You wondered why rent was so much cheaper?

So pet rent is paying for a lot more things than someone's new puppy having new carpet to destroy. Yeah, it's nice to have new, but do you really want to pay for it on the way out? They can only charge you what they spend, and if you pursue it correctly, you'll end up paying just a prorated amount for things like carpet replacements.

At move-in it is imperative for a new tenant to acknowledge any and all pre-existing damage before taking occupancy. Very few courts will deny charges for anything that wasn't proven (written documents, photos, video) to be pre-existing. If carpet didn't seem clean, one should speak with management immediately. I'll bet they'll have an invoice, but a productive conversation about the quality or age of the carpet can lead to better communications later. Photographs, emails from management acknowledging the situation, and a move-in damage checklist will all be more valuable still.

It's also important not to be part of the phenomenon that (so often) people who are the most vocal about the condition of their apartment going in, are the very same ones who destroy it on the way out. If you expect a certain standard in the beginning, strive to adhere to that standard on the way out. It's expensive and time consuming to clean and re-rent an apartment. The resident is responsible for the vast majority of those costs. We all want it nice when we move in, but we often forget to leave it nice on the way out. Those costs add up, so document what was already there, and be prepared to pay for the damage you cause.
Posted 8 years 7 months ago
Rose M's Avatar
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Always check the condition of the unit before you accept it or move in, and make sure you are aware of the policies and charges before bringing a pet on-site.

In my state, we don't charge any pet fees, but pet owners are not a protected class, so it is actually legal to discriminate against them or prohibit pets completely. We do, however, use pet deposits towards the cost of repairing pet damage, pest control, etc.

PS- A lot of the users of this forum are industry professionals, so we are more well equipped to address property management issues. For questions about renters rights, check the local landlord/tenant law in your state.

Good Luck!
Rose
Posted 8 years 7 months ago
Alina W's Avatar Topic Author
Alina W
I agree that property management has reasons to charge fees and deposit for pets, even pet rent. But another problem is pets waste. In the property we currently live is just impossible to step outside and not end up stepping in dogs waste. I totally understand that picking up after their dogs is owners' responsibility. I do pick up after my dog and some of my neighbours do as well. But there are enough dog owners who don't, and it's like they NEVER do. My concern is that the condition becomes simply unsanitary. I don't feel it's my job to watch the property 24/7 and look for violators of the rules, so I can report them. Management is explaining that they can't address the issue as they can't catch the violators. Their effort to maintain the property clean ends up at installing pet stations, which in this case are the filthiest areas of all. So meanwhile the common areas and lawns are full of waste and management seems not to care much about it. How can address the issue more efficiently?
Posted 8 years 7 months ago
Nadeen Green's Avatar Topic Author
Nadeen Green
Actually, the landlord can "catch the violators". There are vendors within the apartment industry who are offering their services of DNA analysis of the dog waste. All dog owners must consent (in order to have a pet at the property) to a mouth swab (non-invasive and non-traumatic)of their dog. That swab (which contains the dog's DNA) is kept at the vendor's lab. If there is a dispute or question when a dog is seen relieving itself, a swab of that waste is taken and checked against that dog's DNA. A match is irrefutable.
Posted 8 years 7 months ago
Rose M's Avatar
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Most small properties can't afford this type of service. DNA testing isn't cheap, and the type of resident that is not going to clean up after their pet is the same type of resident that would never consent to DNA testing.
Posted 8 years 7 months ago
Nadeen Green's Avatar Topic Author
Nadeen Green
Actually, the initial swabbing is usually paid by the resident (as part of the pet addendum/ pet fee scenario). If the test shows the dog belongs to a resident (and the resident says "that is not my dog's waste"), then the resident pays the DNA fee (that requirement is in the lease and the pet addendum). Only if the landlord accuses the wrong dog would the landlord then pay. There is some word on the street that this a deterrent to bad pet ownership (catch a couple of dogs and everyone starts to be more responsible). This works on an unrelated matter - towing of cars that are not parked where they should be. Tow a couple of cars and everyone starts to be more responsible about where they park.
Posted 8 years 7 months ago
Rose M's Avatar
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Most fees, including pet fees, are illegal in my state.
Posted 8 years 7 months ago
Mimi's Avatar Topic Author
Mimi
I don't know what State you`re in, but it has to be illegal. At very least complete immoral business practice. You should be shamed for taking advantage of folks in that way.
Posted 8 years 7 months ago
Anonymous's Avatar Topic Author
Anonymous
Agreed. Especially when many places charge a non-refundable fee of $200-400 for each pet and a monthly rent of $10-$20 per pet and then still charge hundreds or more for "special cleaning" or replacement carpets instead of using the fee and rent for replacing the carpet they would have likely replaced anyway (as most places replace carpets after a few years).
Posted 8 years 7 months ago
candor's Avatar
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Many places charge a non-refundable fee of $200-$500 for each pet and a monthly rent of $10-$40 per pet and then still charge hundreds or more for "special cleaning" or replacement carpets instead of using the fee and rent for replacing the carpet they would have likely replaced anyway (as most places replace carpets after a few years). That is the primary complaint, the double-dipping and even triple dipping after a renter moves out.

We had that experience ourselves when we rented about a decade ago. We paid a $400 non-refundable pet fee, a $25 monthly rent for a small dog, and upon move our we had the carpet cleaned at our expense leaving no stains or smells (our dog was well trained, very clean, and never had an "accident". We had a walk through with the maintenance manager because the property manager was not available and nothing was identified as chargeable. We received a bill for $500 for replacement of the carpet after we moved out. I've heard many stories just like our experience.

Retail pricing for a better grade carpet for the apartment size was $450, so the pet fee, monthly rent, and additional fee gave them at least a $750 profit because we had one small clean pet. That was probably their way of recovering the move-in-discount, but it left us feeling ripped off and badmouthing the apartment community at every chance.
Posted 8 years 7 months ago
Joe Hoffman's Avatar
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I think pet deposits or fees are completely fair and 100% the way to go. That way all of the money is taken care of upfront and everyone knows what they are getting into from the start. I think PetRent is greedy honestly. If you have a tenant who rents with you for several years you're taking an absurd amount of money from them for an animal that never even do any real damage to your property. It just seems unfair to me.
Posted 8 years 6 months ago
Anonymous's Avatar Topic Author
Anonymous
:laugh: do you know what 'usery' is? Look it up.
Posted 8 years 5 months ago
anonymous jr's Avatar Topic Author
anonymous jr
Anonymous: Do you mean "usury"?
Posted 8 years 5 months ago
Julia F's Avatar
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That is such a great idea - no arguments about whether it's replaced or not, what's a "pet stain" versus a "wear and tear" stain...And would keep non-pet owners happy as well, knowing that they have brand new carpet
Posted 8 years 5 months ago
Rose M's Avatar
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$450 is some very cheap carpet. I pay $800-$1200 to replace carpet in my units. But when did it become appropriate to change the carpet "every few years?"

When I was growing up, we replaced the carpet in our house ONCE in 40 years. Just vacuum and clean up your spills and it should last a long time. It's just senseless the amount of things these days that people assume should be "disposable."

I have one resident in my building that still has the original 1968 carpet in his unit. It still looks new, with the only giveaway being the hideous orange color that was in style then. It goes great with his avocado appliances- which also still work fine.
Posted 8 years 5 months ago
asdfgasdg's Avatar
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I think all of this is getting out of hand anyway, I think if you rent an apartment and pay your deposit all these "extra fees" need to go away.

Every time a renter moves out, my complex changes the carpet and paints.
very seldom do they ever give back the initial deposit, claiming some damage or another.

Also as (Candor) stated 99.9% of complex's are double-dipping and even triple dipping after a renter moves out.

What in the world can your dog or cat do that would be so terrible that a renter wouldn't fix?

Going at this rate I would think were going to see:

Adult rent, pet rent, kid rent, roommate rent (that would be nice to see)maybe that would stop the multiple family's living in a 3Br...$810.00 per month + $405.00 per person in apartment)

Adult app fee, Pet app fee, kid app fee, roommate app fee....why not charge a pen fee, pencil fee (if they forget to bring one) filing fee, secretary fee, admin fee, wasting my time fee.

Security deposit, pet deposit, roommate deposit, (in case her daiquiri stains the carpet) kid deposit (finger painting the walls)so on and so forth....

The point is this, If you want to live there, your just gonna have to pay all there fees....
If you don't like them, you don't have to live there.
SO I vote INAPPROPRIATE.

What bothers me even worse is the banning of breeds....That's just plain and outright discrimination!!

I'm a cop and I can't have my German Shepard live with me? that's no different than saying since I have a black son or a Mexican daughter or a gay sister, so you can't have them live with you.
Posted 8 years 5 months ago
Rose M's Avatar
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It sounds like you might not be a very experienced landlord. It takes time to learn to appreciate why the laws are in place and how to properly respect them. If you are a landlord (which is the purpose for joining this forum,) you might check into getting some training on how to avoid violating the federal fair housing laws. Grace Hill has some excellent classes, but your local fair housing bureau may offer some training as well.

I am glad we don't charge much in the way of fees at my community. We charge for screening, because we pay for screening. It is not inappropriate to pass the cost of doing a background check along to the applicant.

What is getting out of hand is the "entitlement" attitude of renters who believe it is MY obligation and duty to pick up their nasty cigarette butts and their dog's piles of poo. That's just disgusting- and NOT my job. If you throw you butts on the ground and let your dog run around and do his business in my yard, you bet I'm going to charge you an "extra fee" for picking it up.

Why would the carpet need changed "every time a renter moves out?" Those must be some really horrible renters. I certainly hope they would be charged for that severity of damage. Carpet simply shouldn't need replaced every few years if it is properly cared for by the resident.

I rarely see an apartment with zero damages, but when I do, it's absolutely possible to get the entire deposit back. Simply leave the apartment as you found it before moving in.

Is it double dipping if I clean the carpet for you before you move in and then also clean it before the person who lives there after you? I don't think so. I think the next resident is just as deserving as you to move in to an apartment that does not smell like a big wet dog.

If you don't know what kinds of damage pets can do, you probably should not be a pet owner. Sometimes we not only have to change the carpet, but also seal the floor, put the apartment off the rental market to take the time to run an ozone machine to get all the odors out of the walls/ceilings. And then prime all the walls before repainting. Being highly allergic to dogs, I suffer greatly when I am around their dander, fur, and odors.

It's rare to see a pet owner return a unit to "as rented" condition at move out. Why should the next renter have to suffer the sight of the chewed upon baseboards damaged by your dog?

Fortunately, all PEOPLE; including adults, kids, roommates, and families, are protected by law from discrimination. Pet owners, including those who have restricted dangerous breed dogs, are not a protected class.

Breed restrictions are put in place for several reasons. Since neither animals, pet owners, or specific breeds of animals are a protected class, it's not discrimination to ban them. It helps us limit the size of pets in our community, which reduces the volume of pet waste I have to collect (again, YUCK!) It keeps our community safer and cleaner. It keeps our insurance rates and liability lower, which also reduces the amount you pay in rent.

I'm not sure if cops are a protected class or not, but since my community does not discriminate on a prospects legal source of income, I can assure you that your career choice would not have any impact on your ability to rent. Your status as a pet owner might.

Trust me, it's completely different to tell a prospect that they cannot house a large dangerous animal in my community than to discriminate on race, gender, or orientation of a human being. People have human rights, pets do not.
Posted 8 years 5 months ago
Last edit: by Rose M. Reason: too many typos!
Darlana's Avatar Topic Author
Darlana
I lived in an apartment for one year with my father and he has two dogs. Our non refundable pet deposit was $300 per pet and then we paid $10.00 per month per pet for pet rent. When we moved out they kept our non refundable $600.00 pet deposit and charged us an additional $300 for carpet replacement and emzine treatment. When I asked them what the pet deposit was for after seeing the charges for the carpet, they stated that it was just so the pets could live there. Well I thought that's what the $10 dollars per month per pet was for. Is this legal for the apartment complex to keep my pet deposit just for the heck of it and charge me extra for carpet replacement?

I live in the state of Texas
Posted 8 years 5 months ago
Rose M's Avatar
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Hi Darlana,

You might want to check with Texas Tenant Rights. texastenant.org/

This website is geared towards housing providers.
Posted 8 years 5 months ago
Anon's Avatar Topic Author
Anon
I rent with a very small dog, and I've always been happy to pay reasonable fees. A refundable additional deposit and a low monthly fee have never been an issue.

However, my recent apartment hunt has led me to notice a lot of complexes hitting pet owners with fee after fee: a partially-refundable pet deposit (up to $600!), a pet fee (another $100-200), AND pet rent (up to $70/month!). Sometimes they'll even sneak additional stipulations into the lease, e.g. tenant-paid carpet cleaning and/or flea treatment. You can sometimes expect to pay nearly $1000/year for the privilege of keeping your pet, however small and clean it may be - and that's assuming you get the deposit back.

If this trend continues, you can expect a lot more renters to move in and suddenly announce their medically-supported need for a service/emotional support animal. It's not difficult to meet the criteria for a depression- or anxiety-related diagnosis, and when the cost of renting with an animal far surpasses the cost of seeing a medical professional, that's what's going to happen.
Posted 8 years 4 months ago
Anonymous's Avatar Topic Author
Anonymous
I paid a non refundable pet fee when I moved in. I have a pug. I just got another and my landlord is trying to charge me another 300 pet fee. Is that legal?
Posted 8 years 3 months ago
Johnny Karnofsky's Avatar
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I am not sure if it is legal, and that may vary by state; but many large PMC's collect a pet deposit on a per pet basis. I do not like the idea of pet FEES; but I can understand the idea of pet DEPOSITS (which I do not like either), as they are a means for the property to recover additional costs incurred for cleaning after pets or repairing pet caused damages. A non refundable fee may not be legal; it should be a deposit. Make sure you read the fine print of the agreement.


I would check with your local state or county apartment association on this issue.
Posted 8 years 3 months ago
Nate Thomas's Avatar
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In reading a couple of posts, the best I can give when going over the issues is this link: www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/pet-deposits-fees.html
Posted 8 years 3 months ago
Nate Thomas's Avatar
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For those that are in different states and are wondering about their states, then here you go: www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/security...our-state-36186.html
Posted 8 years 3 months ago
Mandy's Avatar Topic Author
Mandy
Here's my argument. An apartment charges a deposit to a tenant to cover potential damages/cleaning. If you have a pet, you get an additional charge. This used to be a deposit that was also refundable. As with a rental deposit, all, part, or none could be refunded. OK. But that is now two deposits.

The more common now is a non-refundable fee. I don't know about you, but I feel a bit less inclined to care if there is NO WAY of getting any of that back. Extra to clean pet carpet? OK, take it out of my deposit. Scratches on a door? OK, take it out of my deposit. Give me back the rest.

In addition to this non-refundable fee, we have to pay extra a month which is also non-refundable. I'm seeing a monthly fee running about 10% of the initial fee. So after a year, you have more than doubled that initial fee and will have to continue to pay it every month thereafter.

It's a swindle. I don't mind paying an extra deposit amount to recoup any potential damage that pet's are likely to do. But it should ALWAYS be refundable. As for pet rent, as many have said, this is ridiculous. Cheers to the kid fee by the way!

I have tried to talk with potential landlords about waiving the rent, or turning the fee refundable. I would also consider paying the rent for a year then no more afterwards. Landlords can request references. But, I always get the same answer, "If we did that for you we would have to do it for everyone." My thoughts on this, "No. Just those smart enough to ask." All contracts are negotiable, why can't this be?

I say pet rent should be illegal if a deposit and/or fee is charged. If not, then pet rent should be capped to whatever the average fee is (so could be paid for one year but no more after). And I honestly believe no FEES should be in place either. As I said, all funds should be refundable. I pay you rent to take care of my cost. If something has to be done when I leave, take it from my deposit. But refund back anything I shouldn't be responsible for.
Posted 8 years 2 months ago
Fees and Cleaning's Avatar Topic Author
Fees and Cleaning
I feel you have strayed a bit from the pet portion of the topic, but I still wanted to make a few comments.

In regards to carpet cleaning. Laws generally say 'normal wear and tear is to be expected.' So, specialty carpet cleaning, aside from vacuuming, would be the landlord's responsibility as you would not expect a tenant to regularly shampoo their carpets. Charging for the extra because of pet's I could find reasonable, but the pet fees should cover that.

Carpets should generally be replaced about every 10 years. That 1968 carpet could be housing some pretty crazy stuff that a vacuum just can't get. Just because it looks clean doesn't mean it is. It's like a mattress. Replace every 8 years because it accumulates dead skin and adds much weight over that short lifespan.

In regards to the excessive cleaning because of allergies (first of all, I find it funny you will keep carpets around for 50 years, but will scour a pet apartment as if there was a chemical spill), why not limit which apartments/buildings allow pets? I have seen this done, and find it to be very reasonable for all parties.

I'm trying to read over all of these, but as they span 3 years, it's hard to say what may have changed. So, what is your argument for pet fee (non-refundable) v. refundable pet deposit? Also, how do you feel about a pet rent in addition? I know that landlords carry extra insurance or something for pets. OK, how much is that? Divide that amount by each tenant that has a pet. My guess, it's closer to $5/mo extra TOTAL per person, but I would love to see the numbers.
Posted 8 years 2 months ago
Anonymous's Avatar Topic Author
Anonymous
I can tell you from a Property Manager's stand point that this is obviously a touchy subject with pet owners. I personally am a huge pet lover (was even a Vet Tech for 5 years). With that being said, we end up replacing approximately 1/2 of our carpets upon turn-over each month because of saturated pet urine in the carpet which will not come out. The cost to replace a carpet on average is approximately $1200.
We pay $25 to have an outside company (not affiliated with our carpet replacer)to do an inspection of each carpet for pet urine at our expense. Once pet urine is in a carpet, unless it is just a little which is often not the case, it cannot be cleaned out and smell the way a new resident would want to live. We use a 5 year life expectancy here. So if someone has been in the unit for 2 years and the carpet was new when they moved-in, we pro-rate the carpet replacement cost and charge them for the 3 years of additional life expectancy.
The $200 pet deposit and $25 we charge per month to keep a pet does not even come close to covering the cost of the carpet replacement. When someone moves out we rarely recoup this money and typically it gets turned over to collections.
So although I can empathize with a renter and the fees they pay, the cost of carpet replacing is much higher than one would expect and we do not allow our new renters to move into a unit that we ourselves would not want to live in.
Posted 8 years 2 months ago
Brent Williams's Avatar
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That does mean, however, that by having a pet deposit be non-refundable, it essentially means that a certain portion of residents whose pets do not cause damage are subsidizing those that do and do not pay, correct?
Posted 8 years 2 months ago
William Robinson's Avatar
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If I am in a position one day to implement a policy I would try something similar to this:

Remember, this is my personal opinion:

I would only charge a pet 'deposit', I do not believe in pet 'fees'. These funds should always be refundable if possible.

In the case the community had multiple layouts (lets say a new tenant with a pet selected an apartment with carpet) the one-time pet deposit will be higher - roughly, $400-$500.

If the new tenant with a pet selected an apartment without carpet, then a one-time pet deposit of $100-$200 would be required.

There would be no monthly pet fees or rent. If the property begins experiencing an issue with pet poop plaguing the grass - then all pet owners in the community would be charged $10-$20 per month until the issue ceases.
Posted 8 years 2 months ago
Sue McDonald's Avatar Topic Author
Sue McDonald
If there are pet deposits why not have smoking deposits too. Smoking causes as much if not more damage to apartments and other tenants have to smell it! Including myself!
Posted 8 years 1 month ago
Steven Van Zile's Avatar Topic Author
Steven Van Zile
Many landlords have taken care of the smoking issue by making their buildings non-smoking.
Posted 8 years 1 month ago
Ryan Andree's Avatar Topic Author
Ryan Andree
So you charge a pet fee per month?
Posted 8 years 1 month ago
Anonymous's Avatar Topic Author
Anonymous
I moved into an apartment last year, I was charged a non-refundable pet fee of $200 per pet (I have one cat and one dog), $250 pet deposit and $25 per month per pet in pet rent. I also paid a security deposit of $250. When I moved out of the apartment, I was told that the apartment would be "unlivable" if they did not get the pet treatment for the carpet. My pets did not cause any damage to the apartment. They both sleep for a majority of the day. I am okay with getting the carpets cleaned and a pet treatment, but I am not okay with the amount of $325 coming out of my deposits. What is the point in paying a pet fee and pet rent if they are going to charge my deposits for a carpet cleaning?

The carpets were not damaged in any way. There may have been an accident or two when the animals were not feeling well but that usually is vomit, and I do understand that the next people may have allergies or not want the place to smell like an animal lived there prior, but taking a pet fee and pet rent and then charging 'non-damage, just cause we feel like making it better for the next person carpet cleaning fees' to the deposits.
Posted 8 years 1 month ago
Rose M's Avatar
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Hello,

What state are you located in? Have you checked with your local renters rights group or housing authority? The laws vary by state, but this site is a venue for property managers.
Posted 8 years 1 month ago
fed up pet owner's Avatar Topic Author
fed up pet owner
And good luck with your perdect angels though I highly doubt that , I agree they should charge kids rent because of parents that let their kids roam . Most pet owners dknt allow their dogs to roam .
Posted 8 years 1 week ago
Rose M's Avatar
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One key point to remember is that families, including those with children, are a protected class, thus is it illegal to discriminate against them. Whereas pets, pet owners, and smokers, are not a protected class.
Posted 8 years 6 days ago
Anonymous Insurance Agent's Avatar Topic Author
Anonymous Insurance Agent
I'm not sure who told you renter's insurance covers pet damages but it does not. A renter's insurance policy only covers YOUR belongings. Not a property you don't own. You can be held liable for damages done to an apartment if you neglect to pay. Your renter's insurance has liability coverage for that. If your pet hurts someone, your renter's insurance would cover medical expenses.
I am an insurance agent in WI and have never heard of renter's insurance covering pet damages done to an apartment.
Posted 7 years 10 months ago
Andy G's Avatar Topic Author
Andy G
Can we charge a set price for pets under 45lbs and a larger pet rent for pets over 45lbs? e.g. $35 for pets under 45 lbs and $75 for pets over 45 lbs.
Posted 7 years 10 months ago
Maggie's Avatar
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Andy, I'm curious as to why you'd like to do this. Does it cost you more to manage the property if a tenant has a small pet, or a pet that is 50 lbs? I expect tenants would want some justification for the fees and the fee difference.

I agree with William above that pet deposits (true, refundable deposits) protect the property but fees seem unnecessary. Unless they cover a true increased cost for the property, such as an insurance increase.
Posted 7 years 10 months ago
Rose M's Avatar
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That's a great question! I've never heard this one before. I wish I knew the answer.

Our community does not have different deposits for different sizes of animals, but we do have a weight limit and breed restrictions. I do know of some communities that charge different deposits for dogs vs cats.

I attend our local landlord forum every month, next month I will ask them about this.
Posted 7 years 10 months ago
ftorres's Avatar Topic Author
ftorres
I live in Texas, and in my apartment complex, the manager sent a letter to everyone that they will charge a $500 pet deposit fee and pet rent for $100 per moth. The thing is that my neighborhood is not so great, and i know of way better neighborhoods were the pet deposit is $300 and $10 per month. Is that legal, or is there a way to get around it. Thank you
Posted 7 years 9 months ago
TexasRose's Avatar Topic Author
TexasRose
So not true. Under the law, Texas landlords still have the right to charge the pet fees, deposits, and rent. Some REQUIRE you to carry renter's insurance and others only require it if you get a satellite dish installed. It is the policy, and how your individual company wrote it, that allows you to make a claim against your policy to get reimbursed for any pet deposit/fees you paid out.

Just remember, it's still a claim on an insurance policy. And the more of those you have, the more likely you are to have your rates increased.

Don't you just love the scam they have going?
Posted 7 years 8 months ago
Maggie's Avatar
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Rose - Did you get any feedback about this from your local landlord forum?

TexasRose - I'm unclear as to which statement you are declaring "So not true." Could you provide reference and context?
Posted 7 years 8 months ago
TexasRose's Avatar Topic Author
TexasRose
No I do not think you are correct. I even asked the same question of my new complex as pet rent was a new one to me. The rent was explained to be able to pay for the upkeep to the "pet walking grounds" and those who do not clean up after their pets.

Though I would still think this to be the responsibility of the Complex, along with the rest of the grounds, I understand it might be a bit more challenging to deal with (especially in areas with snow or like Texas with Fire Ants).

I love my pets, as I know everyone does, but I agree charging a separate monthly rent for them is ridiculous.
Posted 7 years 8 months ago
TexasRose's Avatar Topic Author
TexasRose
I so agree with you on banning breeds! Now in some cases, large breeds have no business in a small confined space. I am a member of the ASPCA so if you do not have an appropriate space for the size of the dog you have, you should consider other options (a house or a smaller breed).

But, knowing that specific Counties are banning Pit Bulls only because of the breed and not due to any aggressiveness by a specific animal, is ludicrous! They actually put them to sleep rather than simply transporting them to another county. This is so inhumane it's pathetic!

And when I read some of the breeds apartment complexes are banning now, I actually laugh! An English Bulldog??? Seriously? What do they think he might do, slobber on someone? But to think that a police officer would not even be allowed to keep a German Shepard is unimaginable.

A breed should not be the quantifier as to what is/is not allowed. Apartment size = breed size should be. Think of it this way....would you want to live in a room the size of your bathroom? Neither would a Great Dane want to live in a small, one bedroom apartment. If an apartment doesn't have room for your dog, find a house.
Posted 7 years 8 months ago
TexasRose's Avatar Topic Author
TexasRose

Rose - Did you get any feedback about this from your local landlord forum?

TexasRose - I'm unclear as to which statement you are declaring "So not true." Could you provide reference and context?


EricKNSeattle wrote:

This is why you should have Renter's insurance. It covers pet damage, just submit the charge and it is paid. No Need for fees or pet rent.
E.

Posted 7 years 8 months ago
Rose M's Avatar
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I'm sorry, but there is no way an apartment managers duties should include picking up your dogs poop. If you love your pets, you clean up after them.

If you live in my complex and leave the poop for me to pick up, you will be issued a non-compliance notice for the first offense; charged a $50 fine for the second offense, charged a fee of $50+ 5% of your rent for the third offense, and evicted for the fourth offense.

The property I manage does not currently charge pet rent or fees, but we do charge a security deposit. It does cost extra to clean a carpet after a pet. If you had a newborn baby, would you really want to lay the baby on the carpet full of dander, hair, fleas, and multiplied bacteria from pee, puke, or worse?
Posted 7 years 8 months ago
Rose M's Avatar
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I forgot to ask last month! The forum meets again next Wednesday, so I will try to remember.
Posted 7 years 8 months ago
M's Avatar Topic Author
M
Yes I would very much like to know how pet rent started
To me people are getting greedy. Owners have to consider people
who live on fixed incomes
Posted 7 years 7 months ago
Sandy Barklow's Avatar Topic Author
Sandy Barklow
I've been in the same apartment 10 years. Over that time I have paid an addition $5000 for 2 small shih tzus, whose feet I wash every time they go out. I always pick up after them. they never bark, and every one loves them. I have paid to replace cheap carpet/which is what they put in 3 times over, and they have never had to paint my apartment in 10 years. People with children who cook curried foods, they have to compeltely gut the apartment every 2 years, including all appliances and the kitchen cabinets. No extra rent for them.
Posted 7 years 6 months ago
Francisco's Avatar Topic Author
Francisco
If you are on a fixed income, get rid of your pet and save thousands.
Posted 7 years 6 months ago
Rose M's Avatar
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Actually, owners have to consider the best interests of their asset.

It's best to buy your own house if you have pets. But if a renter truly wants to have a pet, they should make sure they are able to afford it before acquiring one.

Also, especially for dogs, being trapped inside causes them great anxiety. They need a place to run and do their business. It's selfish to put an animal that needs lots of space, yard, and fresh air into a small apartment environment.

We all have to live within our means, even if on a fixed income. For many years I could not afford to have a pet, but I love animals dearly, so I took it upon myself to acquire the ability to provide for one.
Posted 7 years 6 months ago
Anonymous's Avatar Topic Author
Anonymous
I strongly am opposed to pet fees. For one, pets (most) do less damage than children or unruly adults.It is just vilifying the poor and a reason to ask for more money. Pet fees are responsible for many animals at shelters whose family was too poor for the rent. I never would but people do. So if apartments want to charge pr deny pets,they should pay a penalty fee to shelters. It raises all our taxes.of course ban certain breeds, but leave it at that.
Posted 7 years 4 months ago
Anonymous's Avatar Topic Author
Anonymous
Can anyone tell me what a monthly pet rental fee is for? Someone said their tenants love it - why is that? There must be something that justifies this that I'm missing.
Posted 7 years 4 months ago
Mandie's Avatar Topic Author
Mandie
I'm from Oregon and I never saw a pet fee until I moved to Virginia and then to Florida for military reasons. I personally think pet fees and pet rent is ridiculous and greedy. I've paid 600 dollars in the last 4 months because I've moved twice relating to military orders. A refundable pet deposit I totally understand, but pet fee and pet rent no. I asked my landlord if my cat did some kind of damage to the carpet would it come out of my pet fee and she said no, it's just a fee. Why penalize people for saving an animal from the shelter? If the money went to shelters or something that would make a difference instead of making apartment owners wealthier then I might feel a little better about it. I would gladly pay for any damage my cat makes, but considering I am strict with my cat and have used a water bottle to make sure they don't scratch anything but the scratch post I think just giving money away to someone is unfair. My son is the only one I watch out for with stains so what's next, child fees and child rent?
Posted 7 years 4 months ago
Paul Jenney's Avatar Topic Author
Paul Jenney

The biggest problem I have encountered with pets is the fact a lot of people won't take care of them properly. Our pet fee is $150.00, but all a tenant has to do is go to a doctor and have the doctor write them a letter that they need one for "emotional" health and companionship. Boom, the pet fee is waived in that case.
Well, so much for the pet fee. Another conjugation is the stupidity of the "fee" vs the "deposit". A fee is non-refundable, and a deposit can be refundable. I have yet to convince many people to call it a fee instead of a deposit. That gets you into trouble fast. In my post here I am speaking of an elderly and disabled complex, yet the same troubles I have seen in our family complexes.
I have seen dogs the size of horses, and those "pit bulls" being tried to bring into my complexes. I stopped the pit bull thing by requiring a $50,000 liability insurance policy to be taken on the PB before I would even consider them on a property. I could do this, because the city required the same thing. This has stopped the pit bull idea. Little old ladies and a yapping furry white dog is one thing, but having a zoo on the property is quite another. I once replaced most of the trim molding in a unit due to a cat clawing it away. The same cat clawed up part of the carpet. This was one of those cases where the "doctor" says in writing the little old lady needed emotional support provided by the cat, and zapped the pet deposit right away. Needless to say on the lady's demise and vacating, there was "no" money to cover the damages.
You need at least $150-$200 on a pet fee (not deposit) for each pet. I have never heard of "pet rent". With a doctor's "they need" letter, that would probably be zapped away as well.


Pitbulls and other so-called dangerous dogs cause less damage then you might think. My 2 year old pit and a 14 year old lab are in the house, along with a cat, daily, for hours alone, and zero damage, zero potty accidents, zero damage.

Train your dog right, love your dog, feed them, play with them, and all is good.

Pet fees are silly. Mandate renters insurance naming you as an additional insured.
Posted 7 years 3 months ago
bkmiec's Avatar Topic Author
bkmiec
In looking through the posts I haven't found the scenario we are experiencing...wondering if anyone has or knows how this works or has been handled???

We paid a non-refundable pet deposit, plus an additional pet fee of $200/month (an addendum added to the lease). We moved out with 3 months left on our lease and paid the rent (minus the pet fee), since the pet was no longer living on the premises. The rental agency claims we still owe them the pet fee regardless. No where in the lease or pet agreement does it state that. All the pet agreement states is that a pet fee of $200 (nonrefundable) will be due each month, and added to the lease brings the monthly amount to $xxxx.
Posted 7 years 1 month ago
Anonymous's Avatar Topic Author
Anonymous
Callous comment. Would you get rid of your child? Many older people who are on fixed incomes are lonely and their pets are their only companionship. Shame on you.
Posted 7 years 2 weeks ago
Anonymous's Avatar Topic Author
Anonymous
I think Pet Fees and rent originated from the costs associated only with residents who own pets. The cost to put in/maintain a dog park or have a company scoop the poop that resident do not clean up or shampoo the carpet for a pet that has an accident in an interior common area. If all pet owners were responsible pet owners these fees may not have to be as high but unfortuantely we all know that many times there are at least a few irresponsible pet owners for every responsilbe one. Rather than raise the rent for the entire property adding a pet fee/rent so only pet owners are paying for these amenities seems to be a better option. The properties that do not offer anything additional for pets or allow the uncollected poop to pile up etc. I do not know why they charge it.

For those that compare this to a resident with children and tot lots or other amenities that children are more likely to use; it would be illegal to charge a child fee/rent otherwise I am sure property owners would like to add this on to the rent as well.
Posted 7 years 2 weeks ago
Penny's Avatar
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I think renters tend to forget this is a business. They sign contracts agreeing to fees, deposits and rules. Just because they are using the space doesn't entitle them to do as they wish.

(Most) Landlords follow the law, and you can't discriminate against children, that boat has sailed and it's never coming back, however they can and will discriminate against pets. If they don't want it on the property it doesn't come on the property (and no one has to chime in about service animals - we know). Sorry can't have your German Shepard even though it's your co-worker because it's on the property's restricted breed list, sorry cant' have your pit companion/service animal because it violates landlord's insurance. Deposits for roommates? Someone is clearly just making things up or has no understanding of how this works - that is included in overall deposits.

Landlord isn't going to take the hit for pet damage and isn't required to and it's not a valid insurance claim. I understand that a couple of participants in the thread are renters, not in this industry and upset with their circumstances. You'd be better off thoroughly reading and understanding your lease when you sign because your landlord will enforce it. If you have questions contact the property management. If you think what they're doing is not right there are many resources online and self help centers.
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Posted 7 years 1 day ago
Barbara Kelly's Avatar Topic Author
Barbara Kelly
Hello I'm trying to find out why I paid $250.00 for a deposit to have my dog and now it costing me $50.00 per month. My dog is family and goes out all day to a family member until my return. Aggie is not a barker she is an older dog. Now where I live there are many dogs and they don't pay I would like to know the steps I need to take. I will soon be 63 years old and have a hard enough time trying to pay my bills. Any advise you have would be of great help. Please let me know asap.
Complex Wanamassa gardens ocean NJ
Posted 6 years 11 months ago
Amanda Truax's Avatar
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Barbara,

Different apartment communities have different fees. We are allowed to charge deposits and monthly fees, and those amounts are at management discretion and applied fairly across the board. While I understand that your dog is a family member in your eyes, chances are that your management company will not see it that way. For instance, at the community I manage, we charge a $200 deposit and $25 per month. We only allow cats...so unless your dog was a medically-necessary companion or service animal, you would not be able to have your dog here at all. Of course, in accordance with ADA laws, we do not charge fees for medically-necessary animals.

Most communities charge fees for pets to offset the risk of damage, wear and tear, and other factors that are assumed included when you welcome animals into your community.

I would recommend talking the folks in the management office where you live. They will most likely not be able to waive or reduce the fees for your pet, but will be able to provide the explanation that you need.
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Posted 6 years 11 months ago
Anonymous's Avatar Topic Author
Anonymous
they are illegal, but most states dont enforce it. when you rent an apartment you are required to give a deposit, so why have to give them more money because you have a pet.? That to me is total discrimination, But no one really cares. So we as pet lovers end up paying more. they use the excuse of carpeting, but i rent an apartment without carpeting and still have to pay a pet fee and a pet deposit.
Posted 6 years 11 months ago
Ray's Avatar Topic Author
Ray
I have paid $400 per fee, but the managers asks for $900 carpet replacement charge.. Wasn't pet fee part of for cleaning?!
Posted 6 years 10 months ago
Amanda Truax's Avatar
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Ray,

You will need to review your lease. Most leases I've encountered include language that non-refundable pet FEES are not used to off-set any damages, where pet DEPOSITS will be applied toward any balance due at move-out.
Posted 6 years 10 months ago
Anonymous's Avatar Topic Author
Anonymous
I recently vacated my rental unit, where I lived for over 2 years. I had it cleaned by a professional company but had a small area of carpet damage, due to my pet. I have a pet deposit of 300 dollars and the rental company stated that I owed over 450 dollars for the damage and that my pet deposit was a deposit to allow me to have a pet and not to be used for any repairs.
I never heard of such a thing. I was in shock to hear that a landlord can keep your pet deposit just because you had a pet and does not have to use it for any repairs.
Shocked in Columbia SC
Posted 6 years 10 months ago
Penny Mansfield's Avatar Topic Author
Penny Mansfield
Hi,

I have already paid a pet deposit of $300, now the manager is saying that I have to get renters insurance also, because I have a small dog. I am on a month to month lease. Is this legal?

Thanks,
Penny Mansfield
Posted 6 years 10 months ago
Patricia Catanach's Avatar Topic Author
Patricia Catanach
Pet Fee and Pet deposit are not interchangeable, I just learned, upon moving out of my department. Pegasus, a national rental company, charges a Pet Fee, which they told me is not to be used for any repairs that are related to any pet activities. The Pet Fee, I was informed, is simply a fee that gives the privilege of owning a pet in the apartment. Any items that need to be fixed, due to a pet, will come out of the owner's pocket, at move out. Additionally, I found out that it appears to be a common practice in Columbia, SC to defraud Pet owners by charging a Pet Fee and not calling it a Pet deposit.
Posted 6 years 10 months ago
Anonymous's Avatar Topic Author
Anonymous
: :angry: 500.00 dollers?for a boxer&
Posted 6 years 9 months ago
Mark Andrews's Avatar Topic Author
Mark Andrews
I am struggling with allowing pets in my buildings. Im having a hard time finding tenants to fill my properties with having a no pet policy. I'm confident there are competent pet owners that I am missing out of. How do I allow pets and keep control over my property?
Posted 6 years 9 months ago
Mynx43's Avatar Topic Author
Mynx43
12years ago I moved in to my appartment...Soon after I got a dog. I spoke to the leasing office and asked about pet & monthly fees to which they responded that I didn't have to pay (It was waived). 2009 the leasing office claimed I had a dog illegally. Again I spoke with them and they had found that within my lease in which I signed every year stated that I had a dog. Then they wanted to try and make me pay for pet fees. I stated that after this whole time that now you want to charge me and that it was never in my lease that I've signed every year. Now 12yrs later the leasing office wants to charge me for a pet fee deposit & monthy fee. My question is... Can they do that? Especially since it has never been in my lease. Shouldn't be grandfathered in? I found their lease paper which states that the deposit was waived and the monthly fee was $/na dating back 2009. Is there anything in which I can do?

Signed,

Fed Up
Posted 6 years 4 months ago
Nadeen aka Fair Housing Lady's Avatar Topic Author
Nadeen aka Fair Housing Lady
The answer to "Fed Up" is governed by contract law. Each time a new lease is signed (even if with the same landlord in an ongoing renewed tenancy), it is a new contract. So at that time either party has options...the landlord can decide not to continue to rent to the tenant; the landlord can raise the rent; the landlord can require new terms and conditions (such as, in this case, requiring pet fees and deposit). At the same time, the tenant has the right to move away if the tenant does not like the new deal (increased rent or new pet rules/requirements or anything else that the landlord is now offering as conditions to rent). That was the long answer; the short answer is "Yes, they can do that."
Posted 6 years 4 months ago
rosa johnson's Avatar Topic Author
rosa johnson
iv had my dogs for 4 years now, today I wake up to a note on my door saying I have to pay $300 for each dog.. if not I have 48hr to get rid of them. I have 3 small well behave dogs
Posted 6 years 1 month ago
Amanda Truax's Avatar
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The first question, Rosa... are you in a current lease agreement with your landlord or are you on a month-to-month basis following an expired lease? If you are in a current lease that did not include those pet fees, I would say that they cannot impose new fees on you mid-term. If you are on month-to-month following an expired lease, I would be hesitant to say they can impose those fees with a 48-hour deadline. (Please note, if you are on a lease that included those fees but you did not pay them, that's a whole different situation.) But laws do vary from locality to locality. In Ohio, where I am, I would have to give a resident 30-day notice prior to increasing or imposing new fees. It may be different where you are. I strongly encourage you to speak with your property manager to find out what your options are and whether she can make any sort of extended arrangement on payment of the fees.
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Posted 6 years 1 month ago
Kitiara Long's Avatar Topic Author
Kitiara Long
I own duplexes and usually charge a $300 pet fee and $15 month charge added to rent. I had a future tenant ask me if the same fee and monthly rate applies when having a rabbit. I have yet to have this asked and I'm not too sure if I should leave it the same (rabbits tend to smell pretty bad) or lower it (or have it at all) with it being a caged animal. The tenant told me she doesn't want a dog because she's hardly home and her daughter (4 years old) will be starting school soon so they don't not have the time for a dog that is needed. But I feel as if thats the case, it will be the same senario with a bunny and will end up just as nasty... What should I do?
Posted 6 years 1 month ago
Anonymous's Avatar Topic Author
Anonymous

I own duplexes and usually charge a $300 pet fee and $15 month charge added to rent. I had a future tenant ask me if the same fee and monthly rate applies when having a rabbit. I have yet to have this asked and I'm not too sure if I should leave it the same (rabbits tend to smell pretty bad) or lower it (or have it at all) with it being a caged animal. The tenant told me she doesn't want a dog because she's hardly home and her daughter (4 years old) will be starting school soon so they don't not have the time for a dog that is needed. But I feel as if thats the case, it will be the same senario with a bunny and will end up just as nasty... What should I do?


I had a rabbit once. The bottom of the cage fills with rabbit waste. The rabbit would often pee in the corner of the cage - right through the bars and onto the floor. The ammonia in his pee actually bleached spots white in a sort of way. While he's caged most of the time, he's not above chewing on things.

Personally, I'd stick to the same rules. It simply isn't true that a rabbit can't cause damage.
Posted 6 years 3 weeks ago
Nadeen Gren's Avatar Topic Author
Nadeen Gren
Hi there. A pet is a pet and since you have not described what pets are and are not acceptable, it would be wise to accept the rabbit but go ahead and require the fee as you do for each and every pet. For the future, you may wish to consider what pets you will take, which you will not. Snakes? Large dogs? All breeds of dogs? Think it out and write it down.
Posted 6 years 2 weeks ago
Open minded's Avatar Topic Author
Open minded
:) I THINK PET DEPOSIT = FAIR. A PET RENT = SHOULD DEPEND ON THE SIZE OF THE ANIMAL".
PET FEE = SHOULD ALSO DEPEND ON THE SIZE OF THE ANIMAL.

BUT REALLY THINKING ABOUT IT WITH AN OPEN MIND, WITH MATURITY AND WITH THE KNOWLEDGE

THAT MOST BUSINESSES ARE IN IT FOR THE MONEY, IF AN AUDIT WAS TO BE DONE FOR EVERY APARTMENT/HOUSE

THAT WERE CHARGED A PET FEE AND WHEN THE TENANT MOVED OUT, """HOW MANY RECEIPTS WOULD THE PROPERTIES

ACTUALLY HAVE SHOWING THAT THEY DID THE FLEA AND PET DANDER CLEAN UP""""

BEFORE RENTING THE PLACE AGAIN????? HHHHHHHMMMMMMMMM :huh:
Posted 5 years 11 months ago
Anonymous's Avatar Topic Author
Anonymous
So I'm in california. I'm disabled and have a reasonable accommodation to have a service animal. My apt complex initially does not allow pets at all. I want a dog. The size or type of dog was never discussed. Today my landlord told me I have to pay a 500$ pet deposit. We have hardwood floors. Which are covered by my own rugs all over. Am I being overcharged? I sure feel like it
Posted 5 years 11 months ago
LB's Avatar Topic Author
LB
Wow. Sounds like a pretty huge cash grab. Thank god there are laws that keep slumlords like you for charging for everything possible. Have a great time with your industry. Don't charge 300-400 per pet if you are going to screw the tenant every month as well!!!!
Posted 5 years 9 months ago
Andrew Burkhalter's Avatar
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Has anyone had any experience with "comfort pets"? We have a 200 unit NO PET property but now are pleased to house 4 comfort pets. These come with a Doctor's letter stating that the tenant needs to have this pet for any number of issues (depression being the biggest).

I am glad that they have found "something" that will make them happy but respectfully this is a NON PET Property but the ADA gets to push them down our throats? Hopefully someone has had experience with this issue or advise. AND the kicker...you can not charge them a pet deposit nor can you charge them extra rent for the pet. Both of which we do at another one of our properties we manage.
Posted 5 years 7 months ago
Johnny Karnofsky's Avatar
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I disagree with the concept of pet rent and deposits... I do support reasonable guidelines regarding size, type, and breed of pets; along with rules speaking to pet care and behavioral matters for pets and service/comfort/companion animals. My parents had a comfort dog and multiple healthcare professionals agreed it was needed. Unless you have a medical degree and have knowledge of your resident's needs, it is simply none of your business and not in your job description.
Posted 5 years 7 months ago
Jade R's Avatar
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There are certainly cons and pros to allowing pets in your rental properties.
Whether you choose to charge a pet deposit, pet fee, pet rent, or nothing extra at all, by allowing your tenants to have pets, you’re establishing a better landlord-tenant relationship and are increasing your chances of success.Pets could damage your property, and they could become nuisances to neighbors. But you can probably charge more for your rental property if you allow them. While pet deposits may feel like a burden to renters, landlords have tremendous liability regarding property damage and bodily harm caused by pets residing at their properties.
Posted 5 years 7 months ago
Last edit: by Jade R.
Perry Sanders's Avatar
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Johnny: You're certainly entitled to your opinion. I don't have a medical degree but, would you agree with me that there is no reason for a doctor not to prescribe a comfort/companion animal? No one will sue over that. Isn't comfort/companionship the reason you have a pet in the first place? It makes you feel better than if it's not there? A service animal such as a seeing-eye-dog is different and certainly can't be placed in the same category. Other than that, no matter what a doctor or plumber or stevedore writes on a piece of paper, it's a pet.

As a log time maintenance guy, I can attest that pets are hard on apartments. Doors get scratched, blinds get ruined, carpets have to be replaced and the office is taking complaints about the noise that the little beast make when they are left alone. Maintenance guys have to do morning poop patrol which is just no fun. Therefore,I think pet fees and rents are reasonable.
Posted 5 years 7 months ago
Andrew Burkhalter's Avatar
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OK. I guess I need to edit my original question to: Has anyone had any experience allowing "comfort pets" in a NON PET Property? I am not against "comfort pets" unless (in this case) it is at a NON PET property. That is my question, not whether or not I have a psychology degree, what my job description is or if I need to allow pets at our property. It is our business what our tenants do. We represent the owners and protect their property and just don't feel it is right that this situation should be forced upon us when there are plenty of Pet Friendly properties in the area.
Posted 5 years 7 months ago
employer's Avatar
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Andrew, I may be remembering this wrong, but comfort pets are not "pets" - they are service animals, and they cannot be restricted by "pet" policies. I recommend watching this so you don't get into hot water on the subject: www.multifamilyinsiders.com/shop-multifa...about-assist-animals
Posted 5 years 7 months ago
Andrew Burkhalter's Avatar
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Oh no. We allow them as it is the law. But it also causes issues with other residents assuming they can bring pets onto the property.
Posted 5 years 7 months ago
Johnny Karnofsky's Avatar
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Yes and no, my "opinion" is based on experience in terms of what makes an animal a service or companion animal(even a service animal in training). With my mom, several different doctors in as many different disciplines all agreed that a service/companion animal is needed, who are we to disagree and not consider it reasonable?

That being said, I believe that renter's insurance should cover any animal caused damage, and rules that address animal care(by the 2 legged residents) and behavioral issues should be the SAME for service animals as it is for pets. If the animal causes damage, or creates a mess, the resident should be billed for it. If the animal causes injury (another animal, resident, employee, or vendor) while on property, the resident should be responsible and the animal must be removed. Would you convict anyone before guilt is proven?

Once an animal is deemed a service/companion/comfort animal, it is no longer a PET.

My dad has caused more damage to carpets, doors, and walls with his powerchair in the last 2 years, than both of their dogs(they had 1, added a second, and both have died since) did in 5 years.

People look for pet friendly properties for one of two reasons: either they have one(or more), or they need to avoid them because of fear or allergies....
Posted 5 years 7 months ago
Andrew Burkhalter's Avatar
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Exactly our thoughts as well. Our issue is since we are a NON pet property if someone has an allergy then we are going to be forced with replacing any carpet in the unit when the "comfort pet" leaves to make 100% sure the new tenant will be free of any allergies if they are present. To us the "comfort pets" just bring on more unwanted issues.
Posted 5 years 7 months ago
Johnny Karnofsky's Avatar
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Your property can be a NO PET property, but when (prospective) residents ask about it, meaning they see an animal on the property and inquire about it; all you can say is that it is a reasonable accommodation. If the inquiry progresses, then they need to engage in a conversation with the resident. In that event, you did not breach privacy issues.


I have never been in that situation.
Posted 5 years 7 months ago
Johnny Karnofsky's Avatar
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When you replace carpets, don't you charge the resident based on how long they were there when they leave(assuming carpets were new at move in and they were there less than 5-7 years)?
Posted 5 years 7 months ago
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True. But I don't think there are any privacy issues with that situation. The only privacy issue is that "we" as owners/managers/etc can NOT ask the pet owner why they have the pet or what disability they need the pet for. The disability isn't an issue for me it is the pet. Pets are only one form of treatment for multiple disabilities and need to be seen as such and not be forced upon someone that has a rule against them.
Posted 5 years 7 months ago
Andrew Burkhalter's Avatar
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Typically...Yes. But in this case who knows. Everyone here will have a different life expectancy for carpet. I have seen some last one year and some last 9 years. In this case it is a "forced" replacement and to us, we think that needs to be taken into consideration. Especially since now we can be liable for the next tenant behind them that might have allergies to pets and that is why they have chosen a NON pet property. I think it is a good case to be able to charge them a little more to recover the cost of carpet replacement.
Posted 5 years 7 months ago
Johnny Karnofsky's Avatar
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All you are allowed to verify is the NEED for the animal, not the nature of the need; unless that need is obvious to you(seeing eye dog for example). If the resident reveals more in conversation, that is fine as long as you don't ask or use it to deny the request.

Would you deny a wheelchair to anyone just to prevent damage to walls before any is proven? It is the same thing to deny a service animals to prevent damage.
Posted 5 years 7 months ago
Johnny Karnofsky's Avatar
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All you need to do is ask your carpet cleaners to look for pet damage and if it is severe enough to need replacement. A good carpet cleaner should be able to tell if they can restore it.

In the case of my parents, they cannot be charged for carpet because they have been there for 5+ years AND the carpet was not new when they moved in. At this point it will be replaced due to wounds on dad's feet that actually exposed bone that would not heal, resulting in the amputation of a leg above the knee and several toes.
Posted 5 years 7 months ago
Last edit: by Johnny Karnofsky.
Andrew Burkhalter's Avatar
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Correct. I think I just wrote the same words.

Great question. No matter what my answer would be no. I would not deny them to "prevent damage". The damage isn't the main issue. Our property is 40+ years old and does not accommodate wheelchair access. So any wheelchair person would not choose our property due to the fact that is isn't wheelchair ready. Just as the comfort pet person should look at other properties that are pet friendly to accommodate their needed pet.
Posted 5 years 7 months ago
Andrew Burkhalter's Avatar
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Very true and with our "Pet Properties" we do that and they have serviced us for many years. But again in our quick to sue world anyone would agree that you would have to protect yourself and replace the carpet or you would have had prior knowledge of the pet and potential allergens. Replacing the carpet assures the new tenant that you have done all you can do to the flooring to ensure it is a allergy free unit.
Posted 5 years 7 months ago
Johnny Karnofsky's Avatar
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No offense, but it appears you are a fair housing complaint waiting to happen because you want to direct animal owners to pet friendly properties, even if that animal is covered under ADA...
Posted 5 years 7 months ago
Perry Sanders's Avatar
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Wow, great thread guys! Very interesting.
Posted 5 years 7 months ago
Last edit: by Perry Sanders.
Andrew Burkhalter's Avatar
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NO. Again, we allow all ADA compliant pets. I just think the ADA over-reaches sometimes and this case might be one of them. Nobody wants to fight the ADA I was simple asking the question on WHO has had EXPERIENCE with comfort pets at their property? Plain and simple but we have gone down so many rabbit holes I might not know how to get back home at the end of the day.
Posted 5 years 7 months ago
Johnny Karnofsky's Avatar
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True, but under ADA law, service animals are extended to include companion or comfort animals.
Posted 5 years 7 months ago
Andrew Burkhalter's Avatar
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No. These terms are used to describe animals that provide comfort just by being with a person. Because they have not been trained to perform a specific job or task, they do not qualify as service animals under the ADA. However, some State or local governments have laws that allow people to take emotional support animals into public places. You may check with your State and local government agencies to find out about these laws.

Oh...and by the way to anyone who would want to disagree. That came from www.ada.gov.
Posted 5 years 7 months ago
Andrew Burkhalter's Avatar
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Funny how the ADA doesn't classify them as Service Animals but will give them access to the same areas as Service Animals.
Posted 5 years 7 months ago
Perry Sanders's Avatar
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I'm getting lost in the definitions. A "service animal" is one that performs a service because of physical limitations of the owner. A seeing eye dog for the blind or one trained to fetch for a person in a wheel chair, that sort of thing. Right? That is not a pet.

An animal that someone likes having around but has no specific tasks to perform, that's a pet. Yes, No?
Posted 5 years 7 months ago
Last edit: by Perry Sanders.
Andrew Burkhalter's Avatar
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They are all pets. But one that "Preforms a service or task" is a Service Animal and is all almost unrestricted access.

A comfort pet is a pet but for some reason the ADA have adopted and therefore falls under their protection.

This being said you can't charge either a inflated rate (if applicable) for the pet, nor can you charge them a deposit to cover damages. You can only charge them for the damages (if any) when they move out.
Posted 5 years 7 months ago
Perry Sanders's Avatar
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A little digging and this is what I got although I am not a lawyer and may be completely wrong.

A service animal can be a horse, lion, cat or dog or anything else that performs a specific service.
A landlord can't ask about the person's disability but can ask what special function the animal performs. Service animals are exempt from all fees. You CAN throw the person out because the service animal is disruptive. In short, if the animal messes on the lawn it's much the same as the tenant messing on the lawn. The animal with tenant is essentially the same as the tenant alone.

An emotional support animal (comfort) is not trained. It differs from a pet in that it has been prescribed by a licensed mental health professional, not the family doctor without that credential. The landlord must treat it like a service animal, except that they may require verification from this licensed mental health professional via a nasty government form and is liable for damages should you find that the comfort lion has eaten a neighbor. The Tenant must REQUEST this reasonable accommodation, they can't just suddenly show up with a dog and say it's a comfort animal. This is what I made of Federal Law, the hogwash in your state may vary.

I think we need a national law prohibiting BS.
Posted 5 years 7 months ago
Last edit: by Perry Sanders.
Sierra Hood's Avatar Topic Author
Sierra Hood
PLEASE HELP!!

I have paid $2000 to our apt complex due to us having dogs (1500 deposit and $30 monthly pet fee) and they now are saying they want an additional $200 to replace the carpet.

Here's the catch. They say that the $2000 we have already paid was a fee and therefore they do not take out the money from that to pay for damages. I don't know what to do. It's already hard enough to move and then they throw this on top of everything.

Is this legal for them to do?
Posted 5 years 7 months ago
Andrew Burkhalter's Avatar
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I would double check your lease. Check to see if they call it a "Pet Fee" or "Pet Deposit". Either way they should have refundable or non-refundable in that section. But typically a Pet Deposit is refundable and used for damages. A Pet Fee is just that a "charge" to have three pet and not refundable and sometimes not even used to cover damages.
Posted 5 years 7 months ago
Perry Sanders's Avatar
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Check your paperwork. Was it a fee or deposit. Was that carpet new when you moved in? Ask to see the receipt from the vendor. If this falls within the jurisdiction of small claims in your location, it's worth filing. If, on the other hand, your dogs did $2000.00 worth of damage, you're out of luck.
Posted 5 years 7 months ago
Vicki Sharp's Avatar
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This post has been creating conversation for quite some time now, and it appears to have both management and resident input. I noticed several of the postings question the legality or morality of charging pet deposits, pet fees, and/or pet rent. The reality is that the controlling document for all of these issues is the lease agreement and any additional addenda. While management should take the time to go through these documents with new residents, the absolute responsibility of reading and understanding them rests solely with the resident.

I also noticed several postings that state the residents are being charged for prior damages, but have no proof that the damages were there at the time of move in. Virtually all lease documents state that the resident accepts the apartment home in "as is" condition, and instructs the resident to fill out a move in condition form to list any damages. Again, if a resident does not choose to fill out this form, or simply make a list of damages and get it signed by the management, then they are legally acknowledging that there are no damages to the premises.

Bottom line.... READ AND UNDERSTAND THE DOCUMENTS BEFORE YOU SIGN! These documents are the rule book that all parties must live by.
Posted 5 years 5 months ago
Anonymous's Avatar Topic Author
Anonymous
Question since you manage properties. When I moved in I paid a pet deposit of $300, a pet fee of $250 and $25 each month in pet rent. Now I am in the process of renewing my lease and they are asking me to pay the $550 again. (By the way my pet is a spayed, declawed cat that has done no damage and cause no fuss to the renters around me) is this acceptable? How would I go about countering this since I believe it is extremely excessive and unnecessary? They most likely will not have to repair anything when I move out but in 2 years want me to pay $1700 in pet charges.
Posted 5 years 5 months ago
Vicki Sharp's Avatar
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First of all, it's important to know that every property is managed differently, with various policies and procedures. Therefore, it's not my place to say what is appropriate or not. That disclaimer out of the way, I will say I have never heard of charging pet deposits and pet fees again at the time of lease renewal, unless management has found excessive damage in the apartment home, or if the resident isn't following the community rules in regards to the pet.

It is possible that there is a mis-understanding in regard to the policy that is in place. For example, if the policy states that pet deposits and pet fees are to be charged on new leases, a manager might interpret that to mean every new lease, including lease renewals, when in fact, it may mean new residents instead of new leases.

I would go ask for confirmation of the policy from the manager, and be sure you both understand it. By the say, there is nothing wrong with asking why the policy is in place. A good manager should be able to explain the basis, rather than use the old "it's just our policy." If you still cannot come to an agreement, you can always ask for the contact information for the Regional Manager, and discuss the situation with them.

If the management is still holding to these charges, then I would suggest you call neighboring properties and see if this policy is the norm for the area. If not, it is up to you to do the math, and decide if paying these additional amounts makes more sense than moving. Good luck to you!
Posted 5 years 5 months ago
Dorothy's Avatar Topic Author
Dorothy
The property manager at my complex, charges a $200 pet rental fee for not only dogs and cats, but fish, parakeets, parrots, turtles, guinea pigs, etc. I personally think this is an extreme. Your take, please
Posted 5 years 3 months ago
Vicki Sharp's Avatar
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The term "pet" can mean any animal kept in your apartment home. I have seen fishtanks that get broken and cause a flood in the apartment, and birds of any type can create a big mess if an owner is not diligent about cleaning up. Guinea pigs, hamsters, and other rodent family pets can cause serious damage if they get out of their cages. That is why many property owners require pet deposits or fees for any type of animal.... except humans, of course!

As with any potential property management/resident relationship, it is incumbent upon the resident to review the legal documents, including any fees and deposits before choosing a new home.
Posted 5 years 3 months ago
Aimee Simon's Avatar Topic Author
Aimee Simon
I have lived on my aparyment complex for almost 20 years. I eas charged a pet deposit. But know the complez is under nee management. I started beuing charged a pet fee monthly. Which I thonk is ridiculous. I asked the. Tp grandfather me in but of course they wont. Any suggestions
Posted 5 years 2 months ago
Anonymous's Avatar Topic Author
Anonymous
I would rather pay a pet deposit than be charged a monthly "pet rent" for my cat. My cat currently lives at my mom's house and our landlord didn't allow pets. Now they are considering allowing pets for $25 more a month. I'd rather pay a deposit once for my quiet pet than take $25 a month away from taking care of him.
Posted 5 years 1 month ago
Keisha Harlan's Avatar Topic Author
Keisha Harlan
Can I be charged late fee on a pet deposit
Posted 4 years 8 months ago
Snackcake's Avatar Topic Author
Snackcake
No. Late fees cannot be charged on "deposits". However, are you sure it is a pet deposit and not a non-refundable pet fee? Non-refundable fees can accumulate late charges. Typically when you make a payment, that payment goes to the oldest charges first. So it is always wise to pay everything on time or when you have been notified that a charge has been added. Late fees can get costly, plus, think about what you could spend that money on if you didn't have to pay late fees. :)
Posted 4 years 8 months ago
Vicky Harrison's Avatar Topic Author
Vicky Harrison
Upon moving in an apartment,I paid a $350 apartment deposit, a $250 pet deposit and also paid an extra $50 a month pet rent for my 2 dogs. I was never in a lease and now a year later I am moving and my apartment manager is trying to make me pay to replace the carpet without deducting my apt deposit or my pet deposit or my the pet rent for the entire year I lived here. Shouldn't my deposits and/or my monthly pet rent go toward replacing the carpet? I live in Tennessee.
Posted 4 years 7 months ago
Anonymous's Avatar Topic Author
Anonymous
Here's one for the Texas law experts:

I've been touring a new building in Dallas for the past two months, and after going over the line-itemed breakdown of all fees/deposits at length (application fee and deposit already paid) I went in today to finalize my lease.

As I was signing all of the documentation, I notice that the pet fee, pet deposit, and pet rent, were all required PER PET!!!! Now, pet rent/fees/deposits are par for the course, and completely appropriate. Charging pet rent PER dog - I'm fine with. BUT CHARGING ME TWICE THE AMOUNT FOR EACH OF MY 10LB POODLES??

Here's what we're looking at:

$500 pet deposit x 2
$500 pet fee x 2
$25 pet rent x 2
= $2050 on top of my first month's rent.

24-mo term, for a 936 sq ft, 1-b/b apartment in a mid-rise in NORTH Dallas (10 mi from downtown). HOW IS THIS LEGAL?

Is this a trend? Where do we draw the line? How is this not regulated? This is a bigger discussion than risks associated with having pets on-property. This is pretty criminal, IMO. I believe that since laws/regs are weak (especially in TX) properties are taking full advantage of pet owners. We are goldmines to them.

In short, I walked away and will be sending a letter demanding my deposit back, but I'm still completely shocked at the deception, etc.. They lost a good tenant with a pristine renters history, just sayin.
Posted 4 years 3 months ago
RIC HERRINGTON's Avatar Topic Author
RIC HERRINGTON
I recently renewed my lease , I have been here five years, and seven managers. The current property manager added a pet fee of $200 and a pet deposit of $150 and $15 monthly pet fee. I paid my pet deposit $150 on the first month of the new lease (5-18).
I have no documentation or proof on my billing statement. The new property manager is now wanting the $200 pet fee.

There are two residents who signed a lease renewal a week before me with pets, and no pet fees, and no deposit. The same for one tenant who signed after me.

I want to properly isolate and handle this situation correctly.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Bee Kal's Avatar Topic Author
Bee Kal
I just applied to rent a house in Central Texas and the landlord wants to charge $150/month pet fee per dog and I have 2 small dogs. Is this the norm? I feel like I'm being taking advantage of. Any advice would help.
Posted 4 years 1 month ago
Vicki Sharp's Avatar Topic Author
Vicki Sharp
Actually, $150 per dog is one of the most affordable pet fees I've seen. The most common for small dogs has been $300 for the first pet, and $200 for an additional one. It is also very common to see $15 - $25 per month in pet rent per pet. However, since you are in a house, that's probably why there is no pet rent. In my opinion, this is not an excessive fee.
Posted 4 years 1 month ago
Vicki Sharp's Avatar Topic Author
Vicki Sharp
The first question is how do you know what others are or are not paying? You may not be getting the truth, or at least the whole story. That being said, there are situations in which a property owner must allow an animal to live in the apartment with no deposits, fees, or pet rent. In addition, the manager is not allowed, by law, to discuss the other resident situations with you. Lastly, it may be that the management is offering some sort of discounts for a certain lease term, a certain floorpan, or even just based on the location or condition of the individual apartment home. All of these things are driven by marketing conditions. Sometimes, management may offer a certain amount of discount up front, and the resident can choose how they want to use it. If you are working with a professional property management company or property owner, it is very likely that what they are doing is a legal requirement due to the other resident's situation, or is allowable due to marketing conditions.
Posted 4 years 1 month ago
Laurie's Avatar Topic Author
Laurie
Wouldn't your insurance go up if you continually do that? If not, what insurance company do you have?
Posted 4 years 2 weeks ago
itsme's Avatar Topic Author
itsme
So, since you are all for pet fees/rents/deposits I'd like to pick your brain about a matter that I 'm currently involved in. I should preface this with the fact that I'm not against having a pet fee/rent/deposit or anything. However, My girlfriend and I just moved out of an apartment that we held both a 1-year lease and a 6-month lease at back to back and then had a couple of individual months that we lived there after the 6-month ended. In total it was a little over 20 total months of residency. They charged us an initial $250.00 one-time pet fee as well as a $20.00/month/pet fee over the 20 month period. We had two cats while we lived there. Quick math will let you know that the total for the monthly pet fees for both cats was ([[20.00]*2]*20 =) $800.00. Added to the one time pet fee of $250.00 means I gave them $1,050.00 of mine and my girlfriends hard earned money for the pets to be there. After we moved into the new apartment we got a letter in the mail with a balance sheet attached saying that we owed our previous apartment complex $988.32 for damages and stains to the carpet (and for the record, most of the stains weren't even a product of the animals). How in the world does the total $1,050.00 that I paid for the animals over the course of our stay not cover the cost of the replacement of the carpet. When someone rents an apartment, they are renting the space. We get 2 bedrooms, 1 and a half baths, a kitchen, a living room, and a washer and dryer room. When we paid to have the cats stay with us, did the amount of space that we got increase? No we got nothing out of it except being allowed to have the pets live with us. I'm basically being charged to replace their carpet twice in this entire unit because I've already paid them $1,050.00 and they aren't applying that to this balance of $988.32. Does this seem fair to you??
Posted 2 years 10 months ago
Andrew Burkhalter's Avatar
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itsme,
Unfortunately all management companies do not work the same. I will say from an owners perspective of non-pet properties any "comfort pets" that are forced on us we do replace the carpet upon move out. We do this because if the next person moves in and is allergic to pets then you have another issue on hand. We as the management company have not made reasonable efforts to make sure your non-pet apartment are free and clear of any pet dander.

NOW. This is what i would recommend in your case.
1. Ask for pictures. They have to have documentation. Before and after you moved in.
2. Ask to see the bill for replacing the carpet.
3. Ask for the bill the last time they replaced the carpet in that unit.
You are actually only accountable for a portion of the flooring. We have to take the flooring and depreciate it over 3-5 years. So, if they replace it after year "x" you theoretically should only get charged for the remainder of the depreciation. The owner eats the other. It is called normal wear and tear.
4. Fight the charge.
The last thing a owner wants to do is to spend more money with a Lawyer to get $1000. So, in asking them for the above information and letting them know that you disagree with the charges a "deal" should be able to be made.

What happened to your rent deposit? The $1050 was for your pet. Did you pay a deposit also? I hope you received that back unless you left the place a wreck. Hope this helps. Don't give up. But be sure to be responsible for any damage you cause.
Posted 2 years 10 months ago
Anonymous's Avatar Topic Author
Anonymous
It definitely is taking advantage. I can see an upfront non refundable pet fee that can be used to clean carpets, etc. and if the pet has created damage that requires new carpet, etc. that there regular deposit which is typically a 1000+ now, not be refunded and used toward those damages. Property managers have made owners more money hungry and convinced them people will pay any price for their animals, and maybe they will at great hardship, but it is still immoral for management companies to sell the idea to owners that they need a pet fee + pet deposit + regular deposit + pet rent. It is so sad how pet owners are taken advantage of. In most cases of well trained and behaved animals, that children and people in general do more damage than the animals.
Posted 2 years 3 months ago
Anne Jenkins's Avatar Topic Author
Anne Jenkins
I was hesitant at first to charge for pets. However I realized that most properties did not accept pets for good reason. They do cause extra wear and tear and if doggie mom and dad aren't good parents damages can be significant. I now charge an additional deposit and have a sliding scale for addition rent. That is, an animal...cat, dog, lizard, snake...whatever... under 25 # is an extra $250 security and $25 per month rent. Over 25 and up to 50 # the security is $500 and rent an extra $50. Yep bigger animals can and do cause bigger problems. No pets over 50#. None, nadda, zilch. EXCEPT if they are CERTIFIED support animals. Then legally I have no choice. So over 50# is $650 security and $60 per month rent ONLY if certified support animals.
For certified support animals I may closely evaluate the legitimacy of it and if the animal is obviously well behaved and cared for revert to the 50# rate but the dog must demonstrate obedience training.

Yep, I agree children do also cause damages, and I prefer to rent to those without either children or animals. But the law doesn't allow me to charge extra for kids. Alas, will take what I can.
Posted 1 year 7 months ago
Anne Jenkins's Avatar Topic Author
Anne Jenkins
Landlord perspective: I didn't see mention of a pet security deposit. If there was a security deposit that absolutely should be credited toward damages. The fee is just a fee to allow animals. Many landlords do not so you paid a fee for them to do so. But the rest, is simply the cost of having animals. Rent is just that. Rent even though there is an additional rent for the cats it is rent. Not security and not for damages but for the opportunity to have your animals in the unit with you. Yep, from a fur person (animal)lovers point of view, unjust because kids, heck adults can be like or worse than animals. So, no the extra rent and fee just gave you additional opportunities for which you paid. IF I could legally charge a kid fee I would but I can't legally do that so when the unit has multiple bedrooms the rents are higher...kind of a built in kid fee. Nope the extra costs you knew up front and have no bearing on the damages assessed.
Posted 1 year 7 months ago