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Can You Afford a Pet Right Now? Here Are the Costs of Renting with Pets

Can You Afford a Pet Right Now? Here Are the Costs of Renting with Pets

Your four-legged friend may cost you a pretty penny when it’s time to rent a new apartment, so it makes sense to consider how those extra charges will affect your bottom line. We all know that unconditional love and a best friend are totally worth the extra jingle jangle, but you want to make sure that you can afford what it takes to give your pal a happy life. 

Take a look at the typical costs of renting with a pet, so you’re not blindsided after you’ve committed to providing a forever home. 

Charges you can expect when renting with a pet

There’s a reason that 72% of renters have pets – the relationship we have with them makes us healthier and happier. While some pets are relatively affordable, your wallet can get quite a dent depending on the type, breed, and health. Factor in the cost of grooming, veterinary care, equipment, toys, food, and pet sitting, and you’re looking at a significant monthly investment. Here are some of the most common pet fees you’ll have to deal with:

Pet deposits are refundable one-time fees that usually cost $200-$600 for one small pet. You might pay more for larger breeds and multiple pets. If there aren’t any permanent damages to the rental, you can expect a deposit refund at the end of your agreement. Keep in mind, though, that cats get sick, dogs shed, and food gets spilled. It’s reasonable to expect you won’t get back part of this deposit. 

Pet fees are for having a cat or dog in your rental.The amount doesn’t typically cover any damages the pet might cause, and it’s non-refundable. This fee can escalate depending on the number of pets you have, their size, or the location. 

Pet rent is a monthly amount you pay in addition to your basic rent for your pet to live with you. It typically covers access to extra community spaces like a dog park, waste receptacles, and landscaping required to minimize the impact of pets. Larger dog breeds may expect to pay more, and bully breeds are often banned. Cats are often less expensive than dogs because they use fewer community resources.

Choose a pet-friendly rental with amenities

If you must pay extra for pets, at least enjoy some community perks that might save you some money you’ll spend anyway for other pet services. Great pet amenities, such as on-site grooming center, pet wash stations, bark park, or pet sitters are available in certain communities that really understand how much you love your pets. Good news is you can find a pet-friendly place to live in every major city.  

What to budget for a four-legged roommate

Owning a pet is rewarding but can also be financially challenging when you consider the rental costs on top of the basics of food, health care, and equipment. For example, if you pay $30 monthly in pet rent, you’ll have paid $360 by the end of the year in addition to your regular rent and care costs. For a large breed dog, you might pay as much as $50 monthly, or $600 per year. With a non-refundable pet fee of a $200, costs could be as much as $800 in your first year in a new apartment.

Fees and rates might be negotiable

Consider asking for a discount if you feel like the fees are negotiable. Having a perfect rental record, offering to sign a longer lease, or trading a larger pet deposit for monthly rent can be appealing enough to landlords to risk lowering your fees. If you agree to a special arrangement, be sure to get the specific details in writing.

Bring all of your documentation

Negotiating a break on the price is easier if you have plenty of documentation on hand. Bring an up-to-date vaccination certificate, proof of spay/neuter procedures, and breed documentation. Also, submit copies of any proof of formal training or service-dog status. If your previous landlord is willing to write a letter of recommendation about the pet or the condition in which you left the rental, bring that as well. 

Let that cute face do the talking

Bring your pet to the contract signing to prove temperament, weight, and training if necessary. No rental agent will be able to refuse the cutest pet in the world. Know your state law regarding pet fees, because some states cap the amount landlords can charge for pet rent, pet fees, or pet deposits. In some states, companion and service dogs are exempt from any charges. 

The benefits of living with your fluffy friend far outweigh the costs, but clear expectations about the pricing will come in handy when it’s time to sign a lease. Look for a pet-friendly place to live where your fur-baby is welcome and can make friends as easily as you. Make sure you’re prepared to pay extra expenses at lease signing and the monthly upcharge in rent for your pawed pal.

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