Security Deposit for Pets

Security deposit for pets can vary greatly depending on location, quality of tenancy, and general rental market conditions. If you, as a landlord, choose to allow pets... its not only common but advisable to collect additional money as a security deposit for pets.

That creates a multiple security deposit situation, but is usually in the best interest of the landlord. That money is separate from the normal security deposit. Depending on how competitive your current pet-friendly rental market is... you'll need to decide if the pet deposit will be refundable or non-refundable. 

It's very common to charge a $100 non-refundable pet deposit. This helps offset the amount needed to clean carpets/pet hair after tenants move out.

Security deposit for pets... what's the normal amount?

Depending on the location and area where the rental property is located, there is usually a "normal amount" area renters are used to paying for the pet deposit. However, it's completely up to the landlord on the amount to charge. Every situation is different. Every PET is different!

Age and breed of pets is important to consider

Generally, it's accepted and normal for landlords to require a $200 refundable pet deposit for each pet, in addition to the regular security deposit (generally the equivalent of one month's rent). HOWEVER... if the rental property has brand new flooring, or other conditions which warrant additional concerns about pets and pet damage... landlords can charge a NON-refundable pet deposit instead of the more common refundable deposit. Also, charging a higher amount to cover a security deposit for pets is always a good thing if it doesn't cause the landlord to lose good tenants.

For instance, if your new tenants are bringing a brand new 6 month old boxer or bulldog puppy, accept that there WILL be issues! Once puppies start teething, especially larger breeds, they often find wood inside the home to chew on like the bottom corners of doors. Grass in the backyard will often die in certain spots. House training a dog can often leave urine and other soil staining on carpets, affect laminate flooring badly, or stain grout on tile flooring. Even if you charge one month's security plus collect a $200 pet deposit, chances are the damage for a larger breed puppy could far exceed the money you have in security to claim, to make those needed repairs.

Landlords have full control over IF they allow pets, and any restrictions on them. Consider advertising the rental listing with pet restrictions. For instance, pet restrictions: one pet allowed, with $200 non-refundable pet deposit required. OR... "two pet maximum", additional month's rent as security required.  OR... one pet maximum, no larger than 35 lbs.

Puppies, very old large breed dogs and indoor cats can cause the most cost damage.
Make sure to collect a fair amount of security to help cover potential repair expenses. 

Putting Pet Security in writing: inside a lease and as addenda

Including Pet Deposit wording inside of a lease before tenancy begins:

If you've decided to accept a tenant and know they have pets... first make sure to get all pertinent information for each of the pets you have approved. Yes, it's important that you approve each pet. Make sure you know the breed and age of each pet. And how many pets!

Once you've determined, and let the tenant know, how much pet security you are charging, you need to put it all in writing. Since at this point no lease has been signed yet, make sure there is a separate clause inside of your lease specific to your pet. If you are using a lease that can't be modified, you'll need to use a Pet Addendum.

Security Deposit for Pets | Pet Addendum free downloadable pdf

Pet Addendums to a lease:

A Pet Addendum to a lease would be a separate page needing signatures of all parties (landlord and tenant). It should include as much information as possible about the approved pet(s) and any legal verbiage to help protect the landlord from liability, and also to ensure the page is adopted as part of the lease with all other terms remaining in effect.

Having a multiple security deposit situation where you are collecting a separate amount of security specific to pets gives a good opportunity to outline the additional expectations you have for the upkeep of the property in relation to potential pet damage and liability. This should be addWe advise creating a separate page in the lease, and naming it Pet Addendum. By having a separate page, IF your tenants have a pet(s) you can customize that page easily to match the specifics of the situation. The more specific verbiage you include in your lease, the better.

Florida Landlord/Tenant Statutes