Pet deposits are still acceptable, according to Jim Straub of Acorn Property Management, LLC in Eugene and Portland, and there is "no legislative limit on such deposits," but the money must be reimbursed if there is no damage. And, according to him, landlords are not allowed to deduct natural wear and tear from deposits during a rental.
Straub says that while most properties allow you to provide a deposit, some require a security device like a keyless entry system or a sliding-glass door to be installed at no charge before you can move in. He adds that it's best to call ahead before providing any kind of deposit payment.
If your landlord refuses to accept a deposit or fails to reimburse you for one, you have the right to terminate the lease. If they do require you to provide a deposit, then it's considered a security interest against your property and will be reported to the credit bureaus if you don't repay it.
You should also know that only certain types of deposits are refundable. For example, real estate agents who show homes as part of their service often require a nonrefundable holding deposit. This means that even if you find another agent to list your home with, the first agent can keep the deposit rather than submitting it into the new agency's pool of available funds.
A pet deposit is a non-refundable one-time cost. Pet deposits, like ordinary security deposits, cannot be used to offset wear and tear charges. If your landlord requires a pet deposit, find out how much it is before you decide what type of animal to rent to them. Some landlords may have a minimum deposit amount, while others may not have a limit.
The pet deposit should cover the damage that might occur while you aren't around to prevent your landlord from being sued if an animal causes damage. For example, if there's barking that keeps other tenants from getting good sleep, then your next-door neighbor could file a lawsuit claiming emotional distress because of the noise pollution.
If there's no limit to the amount of money you can put down as a pet deposit, consider whether or not that's enough protection for you. Find out what kind of insurance your landlord has and see if there are any exclusions for animals. For example, if your landlord owns house pets but doesn't have an exclusion on their policy, they might still be required to pay compensation if someone sues them over an animal accident/incident.
As long as you're not causing damage to property that your landlord pays to have repaired (like broken windows or doors), then you should have no problems putting down a pet deposit.
Depending on the state, these deposits may be true deposits, as landlords are required to repay any money not used for repairs. Otherwise, the funds are a non-refundable pet charge.
If you violated the conditions of your leasing agreement but it did not cost them money, your landlord should not remove money from your deposit. They shouldn't, for example, deduct money only because you smoked or had a pet on the property if it didn't cost them anything more.
There is no law controlling pet deposits or other non-refundable payments, but a landlord may charge a pet deposit to a renter after making an oral or written agreement with the tenant. The amount of the deposit varies depending on the lease agreement and state law controls how much the tenant can be charged for pets. In some cases, a tenant's family member can be held responsible for the pet deposit if they are found to be living in the apartment under false pretenses.
Landlords can require that pets be kept inside at all times. They can also require that pets not cause any damage to the property. If your local landlord does not allow pets, find another apartment soon because many landlords now prefer renting apartments without pets due to cost savings. Landlords may ask you to provide evidence of current vaccinations for dogs and cats before allowing you to sign a lease agreement. You should also be given a copy of the rental contract to review before you sign it.
It is important to understand that while tenants have rights, landlords also have duties. For example, landlords are required by law to provide heat in winter and air-conditioning in summer, but they cannot be held liable for failure to do so. If there is no heat when you move into an apartment and the landlord has not turned on the heater, there is nothing you can do about it.