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  • Writer's pictureNicole Kreger

Why do Apartments Charge Pet Fees?

Why do apartments charge pet fees?

Living in Southern California can mean a lot of things: sunshine, beaches, and for many people, small living spaces and a furry family member, or two. Pomeranians are great dogs to have for small spaces, because they can get enough exercise and activity indoors and they love staying near their family. However, if you live in an apartment or are renting a house, it can mean added fees. While many apartment complexes in California are pet-friendly, there are likely fees and rules associated with having them. Here is a guide to why apartment complexes and other rental properties charge pet fees, what fees to expect, and how much they can cost.

What are pet fees and why do rental properties charge them?

The reason apartment complexes and rental properties choose to charge pet rent and pet fees is because they want to lessen the liability and burden on their end from any damage or maintenance required from allowing pets. Pets can mean extra messes, stains, and minor damage inside the apartment once a mover vacates. These fees are typically non-refundable, but the upside of this is that you have coverage if damage is done to the apartment due to your pet. Damage can vary from minor to extreme, such as urine stains on the carpets, scratches on the floors, flea infestations, broken appliances, and chewed door frames. These are common damages apartment complexes can experience that cost money to fix, and the pet fee will go toward the repair of these types of damages.

Be aware, however, that if the damage costs more than your pet deposit, your complex will likely send you a bill after you move out.

The pros to these types of fees means that you know the apartment you are going to live in should be clean, well kept, and the expectation is held for all residents. It also means extra insurance for you if there is an accident that is hard to repair yourself. The downside, however, is of course the extra expense. As stated above, these fees are also usually non-refundable, so if your pet does not cause any damage to your apartment, you do not get these fees back after you move out.

Pet Fees vs. Pet Rent

Pet fees are a one time up front deposit that an apartment complex will charge upon move in for allowing a pet on the premises. Pet fees can vary from complex-to-complex and state-to-state, depending on local laws. The average cost of a one time pet fee can range anywhere from $50-$500. Pet rent is a monthly recurring charge that the renter can charge in addition to or in substitution of a pet fee. Pet rent is paid monthly, along with your regular rent, and can range from $10-$100 and may vary depending on the policy of the complex, the number of dogs you have, or the size, weight, or breed of your dog. Many complexes choose to charge both of these fees, so make sure to check with the complex ahead of time.

Emotional Support and Service Animals

It is illegal to charge rent for emotional support or service animals, so if you have one of these certifications for your pet, be sure to have the appropriate documentation ready to submit to your apartment complex when applying. This does not mean you are not liable for damage, however. You will still be charged at the end of your rental period if there is damage to the apartment. This just means that you do not have to pay the upfront fee if your pet is a certified emotional support or service animal.

Can landlords deny pets?

Yes, landlords can deny pets based on their existing pet guidelines and requirements. Many complexes have limits on the number of pets, their weight, and sometimes breed. It is best to make sure you check the policies ahead of time with your complex either before moving in or adopting a new member into the family. Pomeranians are typically allowed as they are small, non-aggressive breeds, but it is best to be sure of any additional requirements your complex may have. The rules and guidelines of the complex may change depending on the landlord’s preference.

What happens if I do not tell my landlord about my pet?

If a tenant decides to hide a pet from their landlord, this can mean that the landlord is allowed to evict the tenant. It could also mean penalty fees, and you will still be liable for any damage or wear and tear. Apartment complexes will usually pull up the carpeting to look for stains, so even if you clean up the stain on the carpet, it can still show on the padding. It is best to let your landlord know that you will be bringing pets into your apartment to avoid any problems down the road. ​

I am a landlord

If you are a landlord looking for options when it comes to pets in your rentals, know that you are allowed to charge these fees. However, look to your state and local ordinances to be sure what you are allowed to charge. Also consider that dog ownership is expensive, and hefty fees may deter potential residents from moving in.

In summary, having a pet can mean extra expenses, but you can rest easy knowing that you are giving your pup a safe home to stay in! Deposits and fees typically keep both parties accountable for maintaining a safe living environment for everyone involved, and it also encourages a living environment where others expect furry companions to be living next door. Apartment complexes that allow dogs often have rich, understanding social environments where dog owners and dogs can thrive!


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