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Should Landlords Charge a Pet Deposit?

Should Landlords Charge a Pet Deposit?

A survey conducted from 2019 to 2020 showed that approximately 67% of Americans own at least one pet. Of Nebraska households, 51% owned a pet.

It's safe to say that if you're renting out your Omaha property in 2023, expect your tenants to want to bring an extra "tenant" with them. So now, the question comes up: should you charge a pet deposit to your tenants?

A pet deposit offers security and can be used to pay for any issues caused by the pet.

Here's what you need to know on whether to charge a pet deposit:

What the Pet Deposit Is For

To continue with what we alluded to in the introduction, you'll want to collect a pet deposit in case of any pet damage. For example, if a dog scratches the sofa, you can use the pet deposit to pay for repairs.

However, you must remember that the pet deposit is separate from the regular deposit.

You must return the deposit if there is no damage from the pet. You can't use the pet deposit to cover any damage caused by the tenant!

How Much to Charge

You can charge a pet deposit for each pet that your tenant will bring. The cost will also depend on the type of pet.

For example, dogs may cause more damage than hamsters, so you'd charge more for the former. Likewise, the size and age of the pet can also be taken into account.

As a general rule, a pet deposit can start at $100 per pet but can go much higher. You can also choose to charge a percentage of the rental fee for the pet deposit.

You may want to conduct a tenant screening before signing a rental agreement. You can also ask the tenant to provide references for previous landlords. Ask these other landlords if the tenant's pets caused any damage during the stay.

What About Pet Rent?

Instead of charging a pet deposit, some landlords may want to increase the rent if the tenant has a pet.

As a general rule, this is referred to as pet rent. It's also non-refundable even if there's no pet damage.

You can consider charging an extra $50 per month per pet. Once again, you have to consider the type of pet and their age and size.

A third option is to charge a one-time pet fee to pay for any potential damage.

This is a non-refundable fee but is often cheaper than charging a pet deposit. Many tenants might prefer this option as being the easiest.

Rent With a Pet

Now you know how a pet deposit works and whether you should consider it for your tenants.

A pet deposit can start at $100, and pricing should depend on the number, type, and age of the pet. It can only be kept if the pet damages the property.

As an alternative to a pet deposit, you can charge a non-refundable pet rent. An even cheaper option is to charge a one-time pet fee.

Regardless of what you choose, you'll likely need property management services. Contact Aksarben Property Management to see how we can help.