Pet fees in rental properties can be a significant expense for renters who own pets. These fees, which are often charged on top of regular rent, can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars per year. While pet fees are common in the rental market, they can be a source of frustration and confusion for renters who are unsure why they are so high. It’s already hard to rent with pets, and the dogpile (pun intended) of pet-related fees can feel like adding insult to injury for renters who are already stressed. What hurts even more is that the cost of owning and caring for pets keeps rising year after year.
Why are pet fees so high? Well, in this article we will offer some answers as we explore the various reasons why pet fees in rentals may be high, and also how renters can navigate this often-complex issue. So, if you are a renter with pets, or are considering getting a pet while renting, this article is for you.
Why are pet fees so high?
Pet fees can pile up and become a significant expense for renters because there are so many of them. Various extra charges including additional cleaning fees, one-time pet fees, and even monthly pet rent (additional rent money paid for keeping a pet in your rental home) are common. So while you may be excited about finally securing a pet-friendly apartment, you might also be in for a shock when you see how much more it costs to rent with pets. Pet rent, in particular, is so unpopular with tenants that many looks for ways to get out of paying pet rent altogether. This isn’t surprising when you also consider that pet rent has sometimes been used to discriminate against some tenants.
Pet security deposits, which are similar to regular security deposits (except that they only cover pet-related damages), are usually the most common pet fee, and can sometimes cost as much as an entire month’s rent or more! Even though pet deposits are refundable, many renters are unsure about how to get a pet deposit back when a landlord decides to keep some or all of it.
While that covers some of the reasons why you’re paying more to rent with pets, here are a few other possible explanations for why your pet fees may be high:
Apartment turnover costs
Tenant turnover occurs when the current tenants move out and the rental property expends resources to prepare the unit for its next occupants. Essentially, this process entails four steps:
- Former tenants moving out
- Getting the property ready to be rented again (also known as “make-ready”)
- Marketing the vacancy to attract prospective new tenants
- Screening and eventually taking on new tenants
According to Roofstock, “make-ready” or apartment turnover costs can range anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 depending on a number of factors, and averages around $2,500 per unit. When you consider how expensive it is to turn over an apartment and make it ready for its next occupants, it’s easy to see why pet fees are so high. As you’ll see, many of the reasons listed below for high pet fees are a result of apartment turnover costs.
Damage to the property
Property damage from pets is always a concern for landlords. They may charge higher pet fees to cover the potential cost of damages that pets may cause to the property. For example, pets may scratch or chew on doors, walls, or furniture, which can require costly repairs.
Landlords may also be concerned about damage caused by accidents such as pet urine or feces on the floor or carpets. To mitigate the risk of damages caused by pets, landlords may require renters to pay a higher pet fee or to provide a pet deposit.
Hiring a professional cleaning company to turn over apartments between tenants isn’t cheap, and landlords may charge higher pet fees to cover the cost of additional cleaning required due to pets. This may include deep cleaning of carpets, furniture, and other surfaces to remove pet dander, odors, or stains.
Landlords may require renters to pay higher pet fees or to agree to additional cleaning services, such as professional carpet cleaning, in order to keep the rental property in good condition.
Landlords may have higher insurance premiums if they allow pets in their rental properties. This is because pets can increase the risk of accidents or injuries, which may lead to higher insurance costs. For example, if a pet bites someone or causes an accident in the rental property, the landlord’s insurance may be required to cover the cost of damages or medical bills. Higher pet fees may be used to cover the cost of higher insurance premiums.
Landlords may be concerned about the potential liability that comes with allowing pets in their rental properties. If a pet causes injury or damage to someone or something, the landlord may be held responsible.
Higher pet fees may be used to cover the potential cost of such incidents. Landlords may also require renters to sign a liability waiver or to purchase pet insurance in order to protect themselves from potential liability.
Rentals that allow pets may be in high demand, especially in areas where there are fewer options for pet-friendly housing. As a result, landlords may be able to charge higher pet fees due to the limited availability of such rentals.
Renters who are willing to pay higher pet fees may be more likely to find a rental that allows pets in a market with limited pet-friendly options. That said, if you’re already renting in an apartment building that doesn’t currently allow pets, you may be able to to negotiate a pet with your landlord and add it to your lease with a pet addendum.
In some cases, pet fees may simply reflect the demand for pet-friendly rentals in a particular market. If there are many people looking for rental properties that allow pets, landlords may be able to charge higher fees for such properties. This is because landlords may be able to attract a larger pool of potential renters by allowing pets, which can increase their profits.
In conclusion, pet fees in rentals can be high for a variety of reasons, including the potential for damage to the property, the cost of additional cleaning, higher insurance premiums, liability concerns, limited availability, and market demand. While these fees can be a significant expense for renters with pets, it is important to understand the reasons behind them in order to make informed decisions about renting with pets.
If you are a renter with pets or are considering getting a pet while renting, there are a few things you can do to manage the cost of pet fees. One option is to shop around and compare pet fees at different rental properties in your area. You may be able to find a property with lower pet fees, or you may be able to negotiate lower fees with a landlord. Additionally, you can consider purchasing pet insurance or a liability waiver to protect yourself and the landlord from potential pet-related incidents.
Finally, it is important to be a responsible pet owner and to take steps to minimize the risk of damages or accidents in your rental property. This may include training your pets to behave properly, keeping them clean and well-groomed, and properly disposing of their waste. In fact, if you’re a dog owner and renting, just knowing how to keep a dog happy in apartment can go a long way toward preventing bad behavior that can result in additional pet fees. You might also want to consider choosing a low-maintenance apartment pet that isn’t likely to disturb neighbors or cause damage that you end up having to pay for. By being a responsible and informed pet owner, you may be able to reduce the costs associated with pet fees and improve your chances of finding an affordable rental that allows pets.