RENT Magazine Q2 '23


A pet deposit is a payment made to the landlord to cover any potential damages to the property caused by a pet. The property manager must return the pet deposit once the lease ends, just like a security deposit. They can, however, keep a partial or complete portion of the pet deposit if they find any pet-related damage to the property. Note: Property managers cannot charge a pet

deposit for service animals under the Fair Housing Act. This ruling overrides the landlord’s normal lease policies on pets. In addition to the pet deposit, pet rent is an add-on fee to your monthly rent. Property managers may charge anywhere between $50 and $200 pet rent to cover the cost of having pets on their property. This add-on fee is not refundable.

HOW TO AVOID A DISPUTE: To avoid future problems, it is very important that you take preventive steps when a pet moves out of your rental. 1. Take date-stamped pictures of the property. 2. Fumigate the property, especially if the former tenant had pets. 3. During the move-out walkthrough, note any damage done by the former tenant’s pet(s) and take pictures that can be used to back up your decision. Bear in mind that you must legally refund the pet deposit in full unless there is damage caused to the property by the animal.


To avoid conflicts, clearly communicate lease agreements, payment due dates, and grace periods, and ensure tenants understand local laws regarding security deposits. Always do a thorough inspection with the tenant before move-in and keep detailed records of any damage to avoid misunderstandings when withholding security deposit funds. By implementing these strategies, landlords can prevent disputes and build long-term relationships with tenants.

NANCY ABRAMS Assistant Editor American Apartment Owners Association (866) 579-2262

Nancy Abrams has enjoyed a long career in real estate marketing throughout Southern California and Las Vegas. She formerly represented 19 Merrill Lynch Realty branch offices, property managers The Roberts Companies, new home developers, including master planned communities Peccole Ranch and The Valencia Company and shopping centers for Sandy Sigel of NewMark Merrill.


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