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Pet deposit fees are typical for any rental property that allows pets. A landlord will charge a small fee, typically between $100 and $500 per pet to let the potential tenant keep his dog, cat, fish or bird inside the apartment. If you share an apartment with a roommate and their pet as well, you may only have to pay one pet deposit. Many pet deposit fees are built in to the standard deposit on an apartment that pays for the cleanup incurred if you leave a mess when you move out.

How Pet Deposit Fees Work

Many people are curious what the pet deposit fee is for. Essentially, it will pay for any cleaning costs or damage expenses if the pet does something wrong. If you are renting a house for ten months and the white carpet is no longer white, then the landlord will most likely need to hire a steam cleaner to come in and clean the carpet. This will be taken out of your deposit. If your dog leaves chew marks in the drywall that needs to be replaced or re-painted, then this will also come out of the deposit. However, if you leave the house immaculate and sparkling when you move out, pet or not, then you will get the entire deposit back.

Factoring your Fee

Every landlord is different. Many landlords will pick a number and stick to this number no matter what type of pet you are bringing home with you. Others will determine each pet deposit fee on an individual basis as determined by a risk assessment. In most instances, a pet deposit fee will depend on a number of factors. Where you are renting will highly impact the amount of money you can expect when looking at your pet deposit fee. Renting an apartment in California is a lot different than renting an apartment in Ohio and thus the deposit fee will reflect this.

Pet deposit fees often work on a sliding scale according to how much the apartment is worth. A more expensive apartment will have a more expensive pet deposit fee. If you are renting an apartment for $400 per month, then your deposit will probably be around $200. If you are renting an apartment for $1000 per month, then your deposit will most likely be closer to $500 or even higher.

In addition to where you live, there are several other factors that will affect your pet deposit fee. What type of pet are you bringing inside? A large dog is going to come with much higher clean up costs and liability than a small aquarium of fish or a bird. Is your pet living inside or outside? Inside pets tend to also be more expensive to keep in rental buildings. Is your dog full grown or a puppy? Puppies, while adorable, are also messy and can leave unwanted accidents all over the carpet.

If you are unhappy with your pet deposit fee or think it is too much, then do a little bit of research in your area to see what other landlords and rental property associations are charging. If your potential landlord is asking much higher than the average, then consider why. Perhaps there is a special feature inside the apartment that would be extremely expensive to replace if damaged by a pet. Perhaps your landlord has had poor experience with pets in the past. Or, perhaps your landlord just doesn’t like animals. Whatever the case, at the end of the day, it is his property and thus his decision on what to charge to a pet deposit fee. As the renter, you can take it or leave it.

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