Charge pet deposit for outdoor dog

5 Replies

Yes.  We charge both a nonrefundable fee and a refundable deposit.  The former covers the more routine added "wear and tear" from the dog, whereas the deposit covers excessive damage.  

We recently had to do repairs in the backyard of one property where the dog gnawed at the post for a pergola and knocked loose boards from the fence.  We covered the fence repairs (the fence was admittedly fairly old), but charged the tenant for the post replacement.

Hi Nicole,

This is actually a really good question. At the end of the day, charging a pet deposit would seem to be at the discretion of the owner. You may want to confirm this with your local housing authority. It may also be a good idea to see what the prevailing practice in the community is (this post is a good start).

One thing to remember is that pet deposits can cover a wide variety of items, both inside and outside of the unit. The California Association of Realtors’ Pet Addendum (CAR Form PET) states the following:

“Tenant is responsible for and will be charged for any damage to the Premises caused by their pet(s), whether [listed on this form] or “just visiting.” Damages include, but are not limited to, damages to floors, carpets, drapes, screens, landscaping, fencing, including odors due to the presence of pets.”

At least three of the items on the list—landscaping, fencing, and screens—have the possibility of being damaged by an “outside dog”. Although you are in Washington and the aforementioned excerpt is from a California entity, the potential of loss from a dog that is entirely kept outdoors would still be applicable.

Hope this helps. Take care, Nicole! 

Yes I still charge a non refundable pet fee. That dog will be in the house at some point. Like when it is 20 degrees outside.

Yes, I would charge extra for an outdoor dog. I’m like Brendon and charge both a pet fee and a pet deposit. The pet deposit is refundable if there is no damage.  I encourage landlords to charge both if allowed by state law:  you add a little to your pocket, but you give the tenant an incentive to prevent and/or repair damages themselves to get their deposit back. Much less trouble for us landlords!

Not to be redundant, but I definitely think you should still charge a pet deposit. The dog could tear up the backyard and you may have to redo the landscaping and (as the other posts have mentioned) the dog will likely be inside at some point during the lease term.