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Are pet deposits fairly priced? Or do they prey on pet owners?

Many people consider pets part of the family. And for people who live alone, they are even more than that—they are also roommates who are always happy to see you.

Given how attached we are to our pets, it is easy for pet-related services and businesses to charge exorbitant prices. Fifty dollars for a bag of premium pet food? Hundreds of dollars for pet sitters or dog walkers? Of course we pay it.

So is it surprising that some landlords charge excessive prices for pet deposits? There is no law specifying how much landlords may charge for pet deposits and fees. Each building may handle pet deposits and fees differently. You may get lucky and find a landlord who doesn’t charge extra for pets, but that is not the norm.

Brick Underground reports that pet fees range broadly. Depending on the building:

  • Deposits may be half the month’s rent or an extra month’s rent.
  • Deposits may run from $250 to $1,000 per pet.
  • For multiple-pet households, you can expect to pay more— perhaps up to two or three months’ extra security deposit.
  • Monthly or one-time nonrefundable fees are also a possibility.

The type of animal, its breed and its size may also be factors in determining how much of a security deposit or other fee you have to pay.

That’s not to say that some sort of deposit or charge isn’t necessary. Of course pets can cause damage to apartments. Cats can rip up carpet, scratch the walls and spray to mark their territory. Dogs can scratch wood floors and chew on anything they get their teeth into. Both can leave permanent stains on carpet and wood flooring, as well as permanent odors.

While some fees are necessary to protect the landlord’s investment, should there be laws governing the amount they can charge? Currently, there is little stopping landlords from gouging pet-owning tenants with fees, unless they reach a point that prices them out of their market.