As a property owner, there are certain pros and cons in allowing pets in your rental properties. Either way, if you don’t allow pets, tenants will sneak them in anyway. Also, most tenants these days go for pet-friendly spaces and are willing to pay extra. So allowing pets in is definitely a plus if you want your space occupied right away. However, should you, as a property owner, have a pet deposits policy?
Why You Shouldn’t
A fee might not be legal in some states where landlords cannot charge more than a specified sum as a deposit. This sum covers the total of all types of deposits. So, if the total amount of the deposits that you charge to all tenants has reached the maximum, you cannot charge a pet deposit on top of that. Also, a fee might not be a good idea because setting aside a certain sum as a deposit to cover pet damage isn’t always practical.
If you do choose to have pet deposits, on top of that policy, you can implement restrictions too. Like for example, if you want to allow pets, but aren’t comfortable with certain kinds, you can restrict the types of pets you allow. You might allow only cats and small dogs under 25 pounds, for example. You can also restrict the number of pets you allow, such as no more than two pets.
The number one consideration that will make pet owners hesitate is a high fee. If you decide to impose a specified pet deposit, keep it reasonable, such as $200 to $300 per year. Otherwise, if your tenant challenges it, a judge may not enforce it. Also, do remember that most some pet owners will have a service or companion animal. For these tenants, the presence of their “companions” is essential so be reasonable.
We recommend implementing a refundable fee for a more flexible contract. If, for example, you do charge a refundable pet deposit, you will need to return it if there’s no pet damage when the tenant moves out. It’s a win-win situation, right?