Did you know one in four pet owners loses their apartment security deposit or pet deposit? If you’re like most people, you consider your security deposit “money in the bank” that you want to get back when you move out and move into another apartment.
When you’re looking for an apartment, you may find it’s not easy to find one that will accept you and your beloved fur-kids. The reason for this is the landlord has been burned in the past by tenants with ill-behaved dogs. You may also find an ideal apartment, but find the pet security deposit and additional rent you have to pay because you have pets puts the apartment financially out of reach.
Pet security deposits
Understand when you sign an apartment lease that has a pet agreement addendum that you know exactly what you’re signing. Many of these documents stipulate the pet size and weight and number of pets you can have. It will spell out if there are prohibited breeds or species (snakes, ferrets, etc.) what the portion of your security deposit is the pet deposit. You will want to ask how much of the deposit is refundable when you move out.
NOTE: Take dated photos of the apartment the day you move in and keep them in case you need to prove the apartment was not damaged by your pet when you move out.
If, when you moved into your apartment you didn’t have a pet you need to ask your landlord whether you can adopt if you are inclined to do so at a later date. Bringing a pet into your apartment without telling the landlord may void your lease and you may be forced to vacate.
What can you do to assure you protect your apartment and save your security deposit?
Here are a few tips:
- Crate train your pet. If they are crate trained, they will happily stay secure while you’re away and won’t damage the apartment.
- Use positive reinforcement to “train away” bad behaviors. If you have cats, make certain you have several scratching posts throughout the apartment so they can scratch there and not on the walls.
- Make certain your dog is housebroken. When housebreaking a puppy, invest in puppy training pads and teach him to go to the bathroom on the pad and not on the carpet or flooring.
- If your dog has separation anxiety that could lead to her barking while you’re way and this will most likely infuriate the neighbors. If word of your dog’s incessant barking gets back to the landlord, he may ask you to leave.
- If your dog claws the doors or chews the walls and window sills you will likely forfeit your security deposit. Clawing and chewing can be addressed by offering your dog an alternative – a bone or a favorite toy – or by being crate trained. Using a Clawuard will protect the apartment, and preserve your deposit, but it’s best to train your pet to be a good canine citizen.
A pet deposit may feel like a burden, but many landlords feel that owning a pet is a privilege and they need to protect themselves from potential property damaged caused by a pet. Be a responsible pet parent, train your dog and/or cat, and protect your security deposit!