Pet Fee vs Pet Deposit vs Pet Rent : What's the Difference?

Pets are pretty much family, so when you're looking for a home an important piece of criteria to look for are homes that allow pets. Landlords generally charge a small amount for pet owners in their lease, in case of damage and wear and tear caused by our beloved four-legged friends. However the amount being charged can vary between a pet fee, deposit, or pet rent. But what's the difference?

Pet Fees

A pet fee is a one time only, non-refundable fee to permit pets to stay on the property and to cover any potential damage costs. This fee can vary depending on the landlord, as they may choose to charge a flat rate, or a fee depending on the pet you have. There are advantages as well as disadvantages when it comes to pet fees. On average pet fees can charge anywhere from $50 to $500.


● Pet fees act as a non-refundable compensation for property damage in general.

● It is usually cheaper than a pet deposit.

● Landlords prefer pet fees because they get compensation upfront.


● If you're a landlord you might come to realize that the amount you're charging does not cover all the damage that the pets end up causing.

● Tenants usually don't opt for pet fees because the fee is non-refundable.

● If a landlord chooses to combine a pet fee and a pet deposit to help cover costs, it may become too expensive which would deter potential tenants.

Pet Deposit

Unlike a pet fee, a pet deposit is a one time, refundable fee. These are similar to security deposits. So the deposit wont be used for regular wear and tear costs until your pet actually causes damage. Therefore if used the pet deposit will only cover property damage caused strictly by pets. A few examples of this could be urine and feces stains, scratches on floors, flea infestations and more. Pet deposits usually average from $100 to $600.


Knowing your deposit is refundable is a great incentive to prevent pet damage especially depending on the cost of the deposit. In general when comparing rentals, tenants usually opt for a refundable fee, over a non-refundable fee. Landlords also benefit from this as they would get compensated well in the case of serious pet damages.


If you're tasked with paying both a security deposit as well as a pet deposit, be wary about mixing both funds. For example, in the circumstance that your pet deposit doesn't cover all pet damage costs, you won't be able to use any funds from your security deposit.

Pet Rent

The final category is paying a monthly fee for your pets, in addition to your regular rent. This is the most favored out of the three options because it's usually the cheapest. You as a tenant would only be paying the monthly fee in the time that you have pets in the house. Landlords generally calculate this as 1% or 2% of the overall unit rent, or based on other factors like pet size, or their experience with pets. As an estimate, pet rent usually costs $10 to $60 per month.


The most attractive thing about pet rent is its low cost that is spread over time. Landlords also benefit from pet rent, as sometimes animals can cause mild wear and tear that pet deposits cannot be used for.


Since pet rent is priced so low, if a landlord is only charging pet rent, they might not get enough money to cover damages long term. This is when it is recommended to combine pet rent with either a small deposit or fee.

Each type of fee has its set of pros and cons regardless of whether you’re a tenant or a landlord. But it is usually one or the other that is preferable for both parties

Buckeye Northwest Realty provides houses for rent in Toledo, Ohio and the surrounding areas. To learn more about houses for rent, contact us today!

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