Should I have a pet deposit or fee in my lease?


Attorney Tom Olsen: When you write a lease that’s got a “No Pets” clause in it, how detailed is it? Just to say you can’t own a pet or just to sometimes say you can’t even have friends with pets come visit you?

Attorney Rob Solomon: Well, first and foremost, we give the opportunity for the landlord to decide do they want to have pets. We name the pets, so there can’t be any confusion about the pet and we do pet fees, we don’t do pet deposits. The tenant is effectively paying for the right for the pet to be there and there’s no debate later on was this some money that you were supposed to get back. I’m trying to think of our leases, whether or not we actually specified the visitation of dogs or cats, and I don’t honestly think we do, but I’ll keep that in mind if that turns out to be a problem. I haven’t seen that come up yet.  

Attorney Tom Olsen : Well, this is an interesting issue about a pet fee versus a pet deposit. And that’s some pretty clever wording done by a lawyer, I’m sure.

Attorney Rob Solomon: Done by yours truly. It makes a difference, because first of all deposits are supposed to be done pursuant to their security deposit law. So this extra deposit is already in violation of the law and I think it is confusing. I don’t think it does anybody any benefit to have this extra money floating around, so we simply charge the person for the right to have the pet and then any damages would get covered under the security deposit.

Attorney Tom Olsen: And then what would a typical pet fee be for a landlord?

Attorney Rob Solomon: Might be a couple of hundred dollars.