How much to charge tenant for pet deposit fee?

31 Replies

One of my tenants just brought it to my attention that she in the process of adopting a dog( German Shepard). Right now the dog is a puppy no more than 10lbs but will grow up to 40Lbs. How much are pet security deposits? and is there a monthly on going fee? If so how much is that typically a month? 

Hi Mahauijue,

Does (Your) insurance company allow such large dogs.

Many policies have weight limits.

Just my first thought on this.

Good Luck!


I charge $25 per month per pet. Over the long run it adds up. 

@John Thedford Ok thank you I was thinking $20-25 per month . Just wanted to make sure I wasn’t  under charging 

Originally posted by @Mahauijue Mack :

@John Thedford Ok thank you I was thinking $20-25 per month . Just wanted to make sure I wasn’t  under charging 

 Check with your insurance company on the breed. 

Mahauijue, 

I would be hesitant on allowing a German Shepherd in your units. They are not the best indoor dogs and I can testify that they can be very destructive. My brothers German Shepherd chewed a hole through the bathroom door and tore up a couch. If you do decide to allow the animal I would not specify the extra amount as a "pet deposit". Say  you do a $200 pet "deposit" and the dog does $500 worth of damage you would be out the $300. I would instead charge more (unspecified) for the deposit  and have a non-refundable fee of a set amount for the privilege of having a pet on the premises. I would still not allow a dog, especially a German Shepherd. 

Good Luck!

I like to charge a $25 per pet per month fee, also a $200 pet deposit. This will usually offset any damage by the pet(s). While many will charge 1st, last, and security to move in, I like the 1st month and 2 security deposit option (in lieu of the last month's rent). Damages can be deducted from the security deposit(s), which could not be deducted from a last month's payment.

I get a one time fee of $250 per animal nonrefundable and then $25 per animal per month

Be sure to add a pet addendum to the lease and specify between what is a deposit and a monthly fee. Not all pets do the same amount of damage, but all do enough to require attention after the tenant moves out. Cats and dogs will leave fur and dander which will require at best professional steam cleaning and at worst carpet removal and replacement. All claws leave scratches in floors which may require refinishing.

Think of the worst case scenario for redoing your floors. It is a German Shepherd after all. I have one. I know! Then, divide it by the number of months you expect this tenant to live in your unit. Chances are it will be greater than $25/mo. 

I agree with @Aaron Hale , one thing I forgot to add is be aware of service animal laws...

@Zachary Bellinghausen I am very hesitant.However i already told the tenants i would allow pets so i dont want to go back on my work. But i will in fact include the non refundable fee on top of the pet depost plus the monthly fee. Hopefully the tenant will reconsider having the dog but if not i will proceed accodrdingly. Thank you for this information!!

@Scott Scheel Ok I like this idea. I may have to consider this in the near future. I am thinking about charging 25 per month and 250 non refundable pet deposit. Thank you for your advice!!

@Aaron Hale Ive just researched a pet addendum and i will definitely be adding that to the lease. I am in the process of doing it now as we speak. from what i was told i will most likely charge a non refundable fee + pet deposit + monthly fee. I will see how this works out thank you for this information!!

@Mahauijue Mack

Make sure your wording for "deposit" and "fee" is exclusive. Definitely $250-300 non refundable because there will be damage, extra monthly pet rent on top, May even $50/month for that breed. I'd be suspicious of a German Shepard only growing to 40lbs. Like others have said, check your insurance, some include GS as dangerous breeds. You can always tell the tenants your insurance wont cover such breeds whether it's true or not.

@Mahauijue Mack

I just recently took a local REIA landlord class. The instructor mentioned that one of his RE friends charges $1 per lb, and they weigh the pet every year. It's a different approach, I might call consider it one day.

@Mahauijue Mack I charge 0 because I don’t allow pets. But you could change a pet deposit I’ve heard of people doing that.

Originally posted by @Mahauijue Mack :

One of my tenants just brought it to my attention that she in the process of adopting a dog( German Shepard). Right now the dog is a puppy no more than 10lbs but will grow up to 40Lbs. How much are pet security deposits? and is there a monthly on going fee? If so how much is that typically a month? 

You should bring to their attention that they rent from you, and they may want to ask for permission before making a big decision like that.  

Originally posted by @Mahauijue Mack :

One of my tenants just brought it to my attention that she in the process of adopting a dog( German Shepard). Right now the dog is a puppy no more than 10lbs but will grow up to 40Lbs. How much are pet security deposits? and is there a monthly on going fee? If so how much is that typically a month? 

My answer is that a German shepherd will weigh 60-70 lbs when fully grown. Not 40.  

I charge an amount that makes them not have a dog.  

Typically 200 non refundable fee and 25 a month per animal. 

But I have bread restrictions and a German shepherd is a no go for me.  

@Mahauijue Mack I'm with @Robert Biggerstaff on this one. $250 non-refundable pet fee and $25/mo. Make sure to avoid calling it a deposit as some states require those to be refundable. Remember that even in the the best case scenario, the dog doesn't physically damage the unit, there is still more cleaning effort on your part before renting the unit to a new tenant. Also, you can withhold money from the original security deposit to repair damage by the dog so don't think that any damage over $250 will come from your pocket. The tenant remains responsible to cover all damages to the unit.

@Mahauijue Mack confirm in insurance policy on pets, deposit usually depends on weight category and depend on property(how much liability) monthly charges can range depending if you will have regular pest control service or will need additional maintenance for clean up , typical under 40 pounds $300deposit $25 monthly (no extra service needed)

@Zachary Bellinghausen

According to CA law, it’s actual illegal to have a “non refundable pet deposit” requirement. I charge $500 for deposit but would be refundable minus damage repair fees of course.

Hi @Mahauijue Mack ,

There have been many great replies here, but just wanted to add in one more for your consideration. I typically charge a one time $250 non-refundable pet FEE (not a deposit), plus $25 per month per pet. The $250 fee covers "up to 2 pets". My standard weight limit is 35 pounds per pet. I also have a list of "restricted breeds". If someone has a pet that is on my restricted breed list, then it is an automatic no-go. A German Shepard is currently on my list of restricted breeds FYI. However, lets say the dog was a Golden Retriever for sake of this conversation, however it was over my 35 pound weight limit (say it's 70 pounds). In this case, the dog is double my weight limit--so I would generally charge either double the monthly pet rent ($50/month instead of $25/month), or I might increase the one-time non-refundable pet fee from $250 to $500 for example. The thought here is that since the dog is double the size, it can do double the damage/wear and tear. Depending on the size/weight of the pet (if it is above my standard 35 lbs), I may charge a different fee, but regardless, if it is over my weight limit and I still want to consider it, I always charge more.

Hope this helps.

Interesting replies by all. My rentals are more luxury/fully rehabbed properties and I allow dogs only. I charge a $500 deposit in addition to regular deposit and review in detail (and it’s in writing) that if the house is returned in original condition they get the deposit back. I’ve found this brings me more applicants for my properties and people are willing to pay more in monthly rent that I charge (which is always peak of the neighborhood) to have their pets. Also since I have a higher class tenant they take care of their pets better and thankfully I haven’t had any issues thus far.

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