Why Apartments Ask for Pet Deposits and How to Manage It

 Why Apartments Ask for Pet Deposits /  CC BY

Photo by Milestone Management / CC BY

Moving is stressful. Along with all of the packing, loading and searching that go into the moving process, you also have to deal with the paperwork. For pet owners, dealing with landlords about deposits and agreements for their pets just adds to the stress. Keep reading to find out why apartments ask for pet deposits and how to manage it.

1. The Deposit

A pet deposit is different than pet rent. Here’s why:

  • A pet deposit is a one-time fee you pay upfront before your pet moves in. The goal of the deposit is to pay coverage for any damages the pet may cause in the future. Depending on your situation, you might be asked to pay additional costs for any further damage caused.
  • Pet rent is a monthly charge for the residence of the pet. This is separate from the pet deposit. The rent of the pet can be charged separately from the overall rental, and there is no legal requirement for Rentals to allow pets (with the exception of service dogs).

Depending on your situation – the type of pet, number of pets, your landlord’s past experiences or the area you live in – the cost of a pet deposit can vary. Some have said that a typical pet deposit is around $200, but it is not concrete.

Negotiating for a lower deposit or pet rent is always an option and may be easier or harder depending on your landlord. A good way to negotiate is to build trust with your landlord by letting them get to know your pet and their habits. Ways to do this include:

  • A Pet Interview. In order to demonstrate your pet’s good behavior, ask your landlord if they would be willing to meet with you and your pet. Make sure you pet is fed, walked and relaxed in order to keep the rambunctiousness to a minimum.
  • Recommendation Letters. A landlord does not like taking risks, and believing your, “I promise, he doesn’t bite!” sounds like one. To calm their concerns, ask previous landlords or neighbors to send in letters or reassurance for your pet. This way your landlord will be able to see the good track record you know your pet has.
  • Proof of Obedience Training. Your landlord will be more likely to lower the costs if you are able to show evidence of good pet behavior and responsible ownership. Keep up with any records of training for your pet for the future.

Disclaimer: Not all landlords will negotiate with you regarding your pet deposit/pet rent.

2. The Agreement

When you sign a lease for your landlord, be sure that you agree and understand the conditions for your pet. Talk to your landlord about the requirements or restrictions for your pet before you finalize anything.

It is common for landlords to agree that any early accidents caused by the pet will be covered with the pet deposit/fee, and afterward will be covered by remaining refundable deposits. Also included in the agreement are limits on what your landlord can charge you and under what conditions.

In the case of a non-refundable fee (depending on the state that you live in), you will be required to have a short explanation and the fee must be written in the lease.

3. The Landlord

From the landlord’s perspective, renting apartments to people with pets can be a challenge. Here are the things a landlord needs to keep in mind when pets are in the picture:

  • Property damage
  • Legal liability
    • Neighbors injured by pet – the landlord could be held legally responsible for allowing a dangerous animal onto the property.
  • Noise in the neighborhood
  • Allergies of neighbors or future residents

Remember that landlords do not have rules just to be difficult. They have many things to consider, and oftentimes they can be the ones punishable for your pet’s damage. Think about their perspective and be gracious when negotiating with them.

4. Managing the Cost

Managing the cost of pet rent and pet deposits can be tough when you have your own rent and bills placed on top of it. Talk to your apartment complex about payment schedules. Some apartments are flexible with how you pay off your pet deposit–possibly allowing you to pay it month to month until it is payed in full rather than having to hand it over all at once.


Keep these things in mind when you are moving or handling pet deposits or pet rental fees. It is good to know what to expect and how to handle yourself, your pet and your money when you enter situations like this. Have a sharp eye for agreements that are vague or cloudy – do not get scammed! And do not be the scammer – sneaking in pets to apartments who have clear rules against them can lead to bad consequences and a bigger cost than a monthly fee.

What are ways you manage pet deposits or pet rental fees?







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