If you're looking to rent an apartment and either currently own a pet or would like to in the future, you may have heard of a pet deposit. Provided below are the answers to three common questions surrounding pet deposits and what this can mean for you on your apartment hunting journey.
What are Pet Deposits and Why are They Charged?
Pet deposits, similar to security deposits, are a form of insurance for the landlord.
Pets, no matter how well trained they may be, have the potential to cause damage to a home. Many landlords require a pet deposit prior to renting to ensure that damages stay small (a tenant with money invested may work harder to prevent their pet from damaging the apartment) and that if damages to occur, the pet deposit can contribute towards the costs of repairing the damage.
Is There a Limit to What a Landlord Can Charge You?
Each state handles security deposits and pet deposits differently, so it's important to know what limits your state imposes on landlords prior to handing over the deposit.
Certain states, such as California, limit the amount that a landlord can charge for security and pet deposits. Some states don't allow deposits beyond security deposits, but may not limit the amount that can be charged (and a pet deposit fee may still apply, but it may just be added onto the security deposit total). Prior to renting, it's a good idea to know your state's tenant rights as well as to understand what guidelines your landlord must follow. If you're working with a real estate agent, they'll likely be able to provide you with the most up-to-date information.
Can a Pet Deposit Be Negotiated?
As pet deposits aren't required by law, you may be able to work with your landlord to negotiate the deposit amount.
Some landlords will charge pet deposits whether your pet is a cat, dog, or hamster. Other landlords will be more willing to lower the deposit amount or eliminate it altogether if your pet is less likely to cause damage, such as pets that spend the majority of the time in a cage. If you do have a dog, a landlord may agree to decrease the deposit amount if your dog has completed obedience training, or if you can provide references from any previous landlords that attest to your dog's level of obedience and training.
To learn more about pet deposits, and to find the apartment that's right for you, consult with a local real estate agent today like those found at Infinity Properties.