When you are renting, having a pet can cost you a lot more than the food and vet bills. There are a lot of charges associated with pets, and sometimes the terminology can be confusing. When you ask an apartment if they accept pets and what the “pet deposit” is, you will usually hear something along the lines of “$500, half non-refundable” or “a $250 deposit, $250 fee”. Pet Deposit vs. a Pet Fee vs. Pet Rent could confuse anyone. Here’s how you interpret this...
Pet Rent is a per pet monthly fee in addition to your rent, paid at the same time as your rent. Generally $10-$20 / month per pet, but it could be much more in high-end apartment complexes and condos. The amount usually does not vary by the type or size of pet, as long as the pet is accepted by the apartment complex.
The Pet Deposit is an amount of money in addition to your standard deposit that will cover any damages caused by your pet. It is paid in full at the beginning of your lease and may be returned to you at the end of your lease if the damage found does not exceed your total deposit. A portion of the deposit (the pet “fee”, see below) may be non-refundable. At the end of your lease, management will determine how much damage the apartment has sustained, whether it be from a pet or other cause, and assess that amount against your total deposit (pet deposit + standard deposit). In that sense, pet deposits are not considered separate from your standard deposit when assessing damage. A walk-through with management before and after your lease to determine what they are assessing as damage can be a valuable tool in getting as much of your deposit back as possible.
A Pet Fee is a non-refundable pet deposit. Sometimes the leasing agent will state it separately... “The pet deposit is $250, plus a nonrefundable $250 pet fee”. Other times they will state what percentage of the deposit is non-refundable... “The pet deposit is $500, $250 non-refundable”. That “$250 non-refundable” is considered the pet fee. Pet fees are usually based on the overall pet deposit. Often it is half of the deposit.
Wherever you are considering renting, its important to fully understand the additional costs associated with your pet. If you have more questions about renting with pets in Austin, don’t hesitate to contact us!