Pet Deposit

Renter's guide to pet-related rental charges.

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pet deposit

Finding a pet-friendly rental can feel like hitting the jackpot for pet owners, but it often comes with its own set of financial considerations—like pet deposits, pet fees, and pet rent. 

Let’s explore what a pet security deposit is, how it differs from other pet-related charges, and what pet owners should know before moving into a new rental property.


  • A pet security deposit is a refundable payment you pay your landlord to cover any potential pet-related damages.
  • Pet security deposits can be returned when you move out of your place if your pet doesn’t cause any damage to the rental property.
  • A Lemonade renters insurance policy could help cover certain damages that your pet causes to your rental, depending on where you live.

Here’s what we’ll discuss:

What is a pet deposit?

A pet security deposit is a refundable payment you pay your landlord to cover any potential pet-related damages.

A pet deposit is an upfront and refundable amount that you pay as a renter to your landlord to cover potential damages caused by your pets during the term of your lease. These are typically in addition to the regular security deposit, and the cost can range widely depending on several factors, including:

  • How many pets you have
  • Type of pet—like a dog, cat, reptile, or bird
  • Your pet’s size, breed, age, and behavior
  • Whether your pet is a service or emotional support animal
  • Where you live
  • The rental unit’s condition

It’s important to review your lease agreement and discuss these factors with your landlord. Local laws may also offer guidelines on maximum allowable charges for pet deposits.

Pet deposit vs. pet fee vs. pet rent

Let’s break down the differences between pet deposits, pet fees, and pet rent. 

Pet DepositPet FeePet Rent
What is it?A refundable payment held by the landlord to cover potential damages caused by a pet.A non-refundable payment made by the renter for having a pet in the rental unit.An additional monthly fee charged to renters for having a pet in the rental unit.
RefundabilityYes, if there is no pet-related damage to the property.No, it is a one-time payment for the duration of the lease.No, it is an ongoing charge added to the regular rent.
PurposeTo cover the costs of any pet-related damages to the property.To cover the general wear and tear and additional cleaning or maintenance associated with having a pet.To compensate the landlord for the potential extra wear and tear on the property over time.
RegulationsSubject to local and state laws, which may limit the total amount a landlord can charge.May be regulated by local laws, but generally at the landlord’s discretion.Not typically regulated.

How can I ensure my pet deposit gets returned?

To make sure you get your pet deposit back, consider following these steps:

  • Thoroughly document the rental property’s condition upon move-in and move-out
  • Address any damage caused by your pet immediately
  • Take some pics of any damage your pet causes, and again when you get it fixed
  • Understand your lease agreement’s pet policies, including pet deposit amounts and conditions for refund
  • Consider pet-friendly rental options and negotiate pet-related costs when possible

In general, it’s important to keep open communication with your landlord about any pet-related incidents and inquire about specific cleaning or repair actions you can take before move-out. This proactive approach can help avoid misunderstandings and ensure you meet all expectations for getting your deposit back.

Does renters insurance cover pet-related damages to my rental?

It's a good idea for pet parents to get renters insurance.

In general, no, but there’s one exception. When you buy a Lemonade renters insurance policy you can easily add endorsements for accidental pet damage in some states. 

Should your Pomeranian, Lucy, get too playful on carpet and end up damaging it, the pet add-on could help take care of the costs. Keep in mind: This endorsement only covers up to $500 a year in damages above your security deposit.

If you’re interested, check out why it’s a good idea for pet parents to get renters insurance. Plus, did you know that when you bundle a Lemonade renters insurance policy with a Lemonade pet insurance policy, you’ll get a discount on both policies?

Before we go…

Pet security deposits are an important aspect of renting with pets, offering protection for landlords while allowing renters to live with their furry friends. By understanding the nuances of pet deposits, fees, and rent, pet owners can navigate the rental market more effectively. 

And with the right coverage, like Lemonade renters insurance and pet insurance, both tenants and landlords can enjoy a tenancy that’s more secure and free of hassle.



What’s the average cost of a pet deposit?

In the US, the average pet deposit cost typically falls between $100 and $600, but depends on several factors—like how many and what kind of pets you have, state and local deposit regulations, and your landlord’s specific policies.

Is it legal for landlords to charge tenants pet-related fees?

Yes, landlords can legally charge pet-related charges such as pet deposits, pet fees, and pet rent, as long as these charges comply with state and local laws. These charges are intended to cover potential damage caused by pets or to compensate for allowing pets on the property. 

However, it’s important to note that the legality and limits of these charges can vary by location, and there are specific regulations regarding service animals and emotional support animals that landlords must follow.

Can landlords charge pet rent for service animals and emotional support animals?

No, landlords cannot charge pet rent or pet deposits for service, assistance, or emotional support animals, as they are not technically considered pets under the Fair Housing Act. But they can hold tenants responsible for any damages the pet causes the rental.

What should I do if I disagree with pet-related charges on a rental?

Review your lease agreement, discuss concerns with your landlord, and seek legal advice if necessary, especially if you believe the charges violate local laws or your rights.

A few quick words, because we <3 our lawyers: This post is general in nature, and any statement in it doesn’t alter the terms, conditions, exclusions, or limitations of policies issued by Lemonade, which differ according to your state of residence. You’re encouraged to discuss your specific circumstances with your own professional advisors. The purpose of this post is merely to provide you with info and insights you can use to make such discussions more productive! Naturally, all comments by, or references to, third parties represent their own views, and Lemonade assumes no responsibility for them. Coverage and discounts may not be available in all states.


Please note: Lemonade articles and other editorial content are meant for educational purposes only, and should not be relied upon instead of professional legal, insurance or financial advice. The content of these educational articles does not alter the terms, conditions, exclusions, or limitations of policies issued by Lemonade, which differ according to your state of residence. While we regularly review previously published content to ensure it is accurate and up-to-date, there may be instances in which legal conditions or policy details have changed since publication. Any hypothetical examples used in Lemonade editorial content are purely expositional. Hypothetical examples do not alter or bind Lemonade to any application of your insurance policy to the particular facts and circumstances of any actual claim.