Allowing pets and pricing for them.

18 Replies

There weren't many forums for pets on here so I wanted to start the discussion. Please answer the following information below and post any additional comments/questions or advice. Thanks in advanced!

State: Pennsylvania.

Security Deposit: Two Months Rent.

Pet Deposit: None.

Pet Fee: None.

Additional Rent. $25/month for most pets and dogs under $50/month on a case by case basis.

Breeds: Whatever my insurance will cover.

I don't charge a pet fee or a pet deposit because I don't know if I can, since in Pennsylvania the max I can charge for a security deposit is twice the rent. Also, I don't know if the pet fee is related to the deposit, so I don't charge that either.

Originally posted by @Richard Campbell Jr :

There weren't many forums for pets on here so I wanted to start the discussion. Please answer the following information below and post any additional comments/questions or advice. Thanks in advanced!

State: Pennsylvania.

Security Deposit: Two Months Rent.

Pet Deposit: None.

Pet Fee: None.

Additional Rent. $25/month for most pets and dogs under $50/month on a case by case basis.

Breeds: Whatever my insurance will cover.

I don't charge a pet fee or a pet deposit because I don't know if I can, since in Pennsylvania the max I can charge for a security deposit is twice the rent. Also, I don't know if the pet fee is related to the deposit, so I don't charge that either.

 I'm not clear on what you want as a response.  I did some research for you, though.  It appears that you can charge a pet fee if you want.  There is nothing in PA law that says you can't.  When there isn't a law that says you can't - then you can.

Here's the actual text of the law from a landlord website. I had a hard time finding it on a PA government website:

https://www.thelpa.com/PA_landlord_tenant_act.pdf

Here's a simple article written by a lawyer that covers the laws:

https://www.landlordology.com/pennsylvania-landlor...

Since the law says you can't collect more than 2 months rent for damage, then my opinion is you can't charge an additional pet deposit, if it makes the total deposit money more than 2 month's rent.

But, it appears that you can charge a non-refundable pet rent, so if I was you, I'd charge one.

I don't understand your sentence: "$25/month for most pets and dogs under $50/month on a case by case basis."

I thought it was interesting when reading the law, that after one year, you can only retain one month's security deposit.  So, if you initially take 2 months rent and they stay over a year, you have to give them half back.  I've never heard of such a law before.  

Thanks for the response. I was looking for information on how other people handle pets and charges/deposits related to pets. I listed what I charge and I was hoping other people could list their charges as well.

Thanks for bringing up the necessary corrections needed. Additional Rent. $25/month for most pets and dogs under 25 lbs. $50/month for dogs over 25 lbs on a case by case basis.

I will probably start charging a non-refundable fee then. Thanks!

Yes, I think that is interesting as well about the security deposit. I feel that it is just one more thing I have to keep track of, but what can I do.

@Richard Campbell Jr   Welcome to Bigger Pockets!

If you type the word "pets" in the search box in the grey bar above, you will find plenty of information in previous forum threads about how people handle pets and charges/deposits related to pets. :-)

We have a very clear NO PETS policy. We charge an unauthorized pet fee of $50 if someone brings an animal onto the property or into the residence without our prior written approval. 

We grandfathered in some cats when we bought an occupied multiplex. We charge a $200 pet deposit (refundable) and $20 per month extra in rent per pet if we allow a pet. We also require the tenant to demonstrate they are a responsible pet owner.  They must care for the pet according to recommendations of the AVMA, AKC, ASPCA and Humane Society. They must dispose of pet waste properly as well, in accordance with our property rules. Google "responsible pet ownership" for more information.

We also made a reasonable accommodation for a tenant with a qualified disability to allow their service animal. We can't charge a pet deposit or pet fee or extra rent for service animals. But we can charge for damages they make and require the tenant to take proper care of them.

Hope that helps!

Hi Richard,

I originally didn't want pets in my rentals so I charge a high pet rent of $100 a month I thought nobody would take. I was wrong and found a lot of tenants were happy to pay an extra $100 a month and $500 additional deposit.

I'm not sure if that is a sign that my rents are too low? As a percentage of total rent it is likely less then your example though, they are in San Diego and rent in the mid $2000.

Yes, the rents of the two duplex properties I own are in the $500-$700 price range for each unit. I also get the impression that people have no problem paying the extra $25/month for their pets. I wonder if I should be charging more.

In my state, you lose 75% of the market if you don't allow pets, and I've generally had good tenants with good pets. That said, we don't charge a pet "deposit," because deposits are intended to be refunded. We charge a $250 pet "fee," which is non-refundable and we make it very clear with every tenant. Any damage that the pet does will be covered by the damage deposit, which is generally one month's rent. I've never had a pet owner even discuss the pet fee, they are usually happy to pay it for the right to have their pet in the rental. We do include the pets in the lease and that the addition of any new pets without prior approval are grounds for eviction.

I've never considered charging additional rent for a pet, and haven't heard of that being done in my area. Interesting idea- anyone out there had luck with that, one way or another?

I agree with Corby, that not allowing pets can severely limit your pool of renters. I owned two condos in a building where the COA prohibited pets, and they were hard to keep rented during that time. Finally enough owners voted to change it.
Nonrefundable pet fees are the norm around here....since you can't always count on how long the renter will stay, to get enough extra rent to cover pet damage. And it happens even with responsible pet owners. Nails/claws scratch the floors and trim. Puke on the carpet (my own 4 cats do this a lot!!). Fees range from $350-$1000 depending on the unit. People are happy to pay it.

Great, thanks Kim B., how much is your monthly rent? Considering rent for my properties is around $500-$700, I don't think I can charge that much, but I am starting to think a fee of $100-$200 is more appropriate.

Remember when setting a pet fee or raising the rent it has nothing to do with the costs you may incur as a landlord.

If you have a pet owner that wants your unit and treats their pet as a family member take advantage of them and jack the rent to the highest possible limit. Taking in pets should be viewed as another revenue stream. Think of your rental property like a kennel, If you can get another $200/month for housing each animal why not go for it.

Pet owners are generally stupid when it comes to their pets and will pay what ever you want because they know how difficult it is to get housing with a pet. Take advantage of that fact.

Also consider the fact that being desperate they are very likely to ignore regulations regarding pet fees just to find a place to live.

Original Rent: $2300

Security Deposit: 2 Months Rent ($4600)

This was the first property I was renting out, and I didn't want to have any pets. I'd already maxed out on my security deposit (in CA you can only charge 2 months rent for unfurnished and 3 months for furnished), so I had to get creative. Told the tenant he'd have to pay $50/month extra to have his pet there.

New Rent: $2350

Security Deposit: $4600 (kept this the same because it was weird asking for another $100 in security deposit.)

I think you could have raised the rent much higher and should try next time for $200 for the pet fee. This would get your deposit to $5000.

Pet owners are a market that should be worked mush harder.

At our rentals in Springfield MO, we typically charge a $250 non-refundable pet fee (not a deposit) and, though we've considered doing so, no additional pet rent. We do not allow cats, as our experience has been that cats can be more difficult to clean after than dogs if they are not properly cared for.

Landlords should be inspecting their properties quarterly. If you are an attentive hands on landlord you will probably be there regularly but a full inspection of all plumbing, walls, floors etc. is a must on a regular bases. Never trust tenants to be responsible enough to report problems. When damage does occur you need to fix it quickly and charge the tenant for the cost immediately. It does not come out of their damage deposit, they pay as they go. Allowing damage to sit and waiting to inspect when tenants are leaving is a major landlord mistake.

Charge a additional monthly rental fee not a returnable deposit. Your damage deposit is enough but charging a monthly higher rent for the privilege of them having a pet puts money in your pocket. That is the purpose of being in business.

Your inspections should be every 90 days and you should see if you can collect a fee for this. With pets damages can add up fast. You must catch issues as fast as possible.