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We have recently changed our policy and the language in our leases related to pet fees. For many years we’ve only charged tenants a one-time non-refundable pet fee at move-in, usually in the amount of $250. While this is usually sufficient, there are always cases where a pet causes much more damage to a property than a $250 fee can cover. With that in mind, we decided it was time for a change.

The goal was to put a policy in place that would provide more protection for our owner clients, while still being reasonable to our tenants. The CEO of our company is a dog lover, and in fact our company makes monthly donations to dog and cat rescue charities, so we certainly don’t want to discourage pet ownership or turn away tenants who have pets. But as with most things in life, it’s always the small handful of irresponsible people who ruin things for other people, so we had to find a nice middle ground that would protect our owner clients from those rare bad pets, while treating the tenants with good pets fairly.

Our compromise was a new policy of charging monthly “pet rent” instead of a one-time pet fee. Instead of paying $250 once at the beginning of a tenancy, a tenant will now pay a $100 pet administrative fee, and then just $25/month during the term of the lease. This means that the tenant ends up paying more over time, which protects the owner from any damage caused by the pet, but it’s spread out to smaller monthly payments, which is easier for most tenants to pay than a bigger lump sum at the same time they’re having to pay a security deposit.

By combining this with our yearly interior inspections to verify the condition of the property, we believe this new policy provides extensive protection for our clients, while still treating our tenants and their furry friends fairly