As a property manager, I manage rental properties owned by private landlords. Unfortunately, that means I don't decide the rules for the property, I just help find new tenants. One landlord I work with accepts pets but charges pet rent every month. Over the past few years, I've shown the rental to more than a dozen renters. Most of those renters weren't exactly sure what pet rent was and I've heard some strange things over the years. Here are the top myths about pet rent.
Pet Rent is Refundable
More often than not, when I tell a renter that the landlord charges a pet rent, they tell me that it isn't a big deal because they'll get the money back when they move out anyway. Unfortunately, this is completely untrue. A landlord can charge two fees for having a pet, a pet security deposit and pet rent. The security deposit is paid before you move and is may be refundable. Pet rent is paid monthly and is rarely if ever refunded to you when you move out.
You Only Pay Pet Rent at the Start of a Lease
A few renters have thought that pet rent is only paid the first month, or only paid for the first few months, and the landlord would stop charging the fee as soon as he realized the pet wasn't causing any damages. Most landlords use pet rent as a way to protect their rental and to earn extra money, they're not likely to only charge the fee for a month or so. Instead, the pet rent will be included in your lease agreement and last through the lease term.
There is one exception to this. If you resign your lease, you could ask the landlord to drop the pet fee. Many would be willing to do so if you've been a good tenant.
Pet Rent Can Increase Any Time
I once showed the apartment to a renter who was convinced that the pet rent would increase as soon as she moved in. Thankfully for all of us pet owners, she was wrong about that. In order for the landlord to legally charge pet rent, he'll have to include the amount in your lease agreement. As long as you are within the lease term, the landlord cannot increase the monthly fee.
However, once your lease ends, the landlord can ask you to sign a new lease with a higher monthly pet rent. Your only options then are to either move to a new rental or pay the higher fee.
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