What you should know about 'pet rent'
Pet deposits are common when renting apartments. But are monthly dog and cat fees worth it?
When you move into a rental, you know you’ll have to pay the rent each month. But what about your pet? Four-legged family members can get slapped with monthly dues too — it’s often called "pet rent," and you may be faced with paying it.
But should you?
Typically, pet owners pay an additional deposit during the lease signing that covers any wear and tear the pet does to the rental. Pet rent, which is becoming more common, especially in corporate-owned apartment complexes, works differently.
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With pet rent you'll pay a monthly fee as long as you and your pet live in the rental. The fee is relatively small — usually $35 or less — and is considered a discretionary charge, meaning the landlord can legally include this extra charge in your lease in most cases.
On the surface, pet rent may seem like just another way for a landlord to make money off a tenant, but some landlords argue that pets cause extra wear and tear on the apartment building and require additional maintenance. For example, pet rent covers damage to landscaping or wear and tear on carpets in the lobby.
While it may not seem as though there is any advantage to paying another rental fee, you might get a better deal by paying pet rent. Say, for example, you're comparing two apartment complexes with similar apartments. One complex charges $985 a month with a $300 nonrefundable pet deposit and no pet rent. The other charges $900 a month with a $150 refundable deposit and $15 a month pet rent. For a 12-month lease at the first complex, you’d pay $12,120. But you'd only pay $11,130 at the second complex and may get back your $150 refundable pet deposit.
Being willing to pay a pet deposit could give you more rental options, especially if you have a special circumstance. While many landlords are only willing to allow pets with specific rules, such as one pet per household or a small weight limit, other landlords may be willing to accept your three cats or large dog if you agree to pay a monthly fee.
Pet rent also has a few big disadvantages — namely, paying another fee that will add up over the course of the lease. Say, for example, you sign a 12-month lease with a $25 pet rent fee. Over the course of the lease, you’ll end up paying an extra $300.
If you’re a long-term renter, a small monthly fee becomes an even bigger deal. If you renew your lease for another year you'll pay $600 in total, and if you decide to stay put for five years you'll end up paying $1,500 in pet rent alone.
While you could simply walk away from any rental with pet rent, you might have luck negotiating with the landlord. For example, if you're planning on staying in a rental for a year or more and know your pet won't cause problems, you could use that information as leverage and offer to sign a longer lease in lieu of paying pet rent. You could also offer to pay a higher upfront pet deposit to cover any wear or tear your pet causes to the building. It may not work, but many landlords are willing to negotiate with tenants.
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As far as animals go, I would say that it depends on the animal. But even if the animal is well-behaved - things can happen. When I was in college we used to have a german shepard mix who was very well behaved and we never had any problems with him. One day we were delayed about two hours coming home from work because of a snow storm. When we got back, our dog had tore up our couch and scratched the front door pretty badly. Our vet thought it was just a bad case of anxiety - he probably got worried since we weren't home yet and started going nuts. Needless to say, we didn't get our deposit back. :-(
Pet rent is total B.S., it's another way of getting more out of a renter .
I rented my home to a tenant with 2 small cute pets(1 cat and 1 dog). The home deposit was $1500 a month and the pet deposit was $350 each. Well the dog was not trained and pee and poop all over the carpet making stains and bad smell that could not be removed by professional carpet cleaners. The cat clawed the doors and the wood strips along the baseboards of the walls. To make a long story short my income on that property minus the expenses(mortgage, repairs, replacements, cleaning, taxes) for the year was a loss. After 12 months the end result was a loss of $275.00 . Next time, I will ask for more deposit, pet rent or just avoid renting to people with pets because could be what makes or breaks your profit for the 12 months. I love pets but could not afford the damages caused by them.
I bought a four family building. A tenant who was there when I purchased the building moved out a year later. After his furniture was gone you could see the damage his two cats made. They clawed a 3 inch by 2 foot strip of carpeting right down to the wooden floor below. It looked like someone took a knife and cut a rectangle into the carpet and padding. This tenant had no pet deposit and I spent > $1000 to replace the carpet. Now, I don't care what a new tenant is willing to pay to keep an animal. NO DOGS OR CATS PERIOD. Other tenants in the building who have allergies or can't sleep because of barking dogs are happy. If you want pets, buy a house.