Having a pet can help people in a variety of ways. Pets can provide companionship and more reasons to go outdoors and engage in physical activities.

Pets also help reduce stress and keep loneliness at bay. Pet ownership has spiked up in recent years, which explains why many rental owners are taking advantage of this opportunity to market their property as pet-friendly.

There are both advantages and disadvantages of being a pet-friendly rental property in Snohomish County, Washington.

Being open to pets will provide you with additional income, however, pets can also cause a lot of damage. The decision to allow pets is entirely up to you.

It’s important to remember though, that verified service or support animals for tenants who are disabled cannot be denied.  Otherwise, you can find yourself in a legal dispute.

Allowing or not allowing pets does not need to be a stressful decision for you to make.

You always have complete control over the situation by managing the types of pets that you’ll allow. You can even specify the number of pets you allow per unit and dictate the breed and sizes you are comfortable with within the lease agreement as well.

You can even supplement your rental income with varying fees that will help to safeguard you and your property from any damages.

What kind of fees can you charge for pet ownership?

  • Pet deposits
  • Pet fees
  • Pet rent

In this article, we’ll cover what the differences are between them and which should you charge as a landlord in Snohomish County, Washington.


Defining Pet Deposits and Pet Fees

The primary difference between them is that pet deposits are refundable and pet fees are not. A pet deposit is a set amount you ask from the tenant as security for potential damages caused by the pet.

After the lease is done, if there are no damages, you can refund the tenant of their pet deposit. If the pet had caused damages to the property, the landlord can make a detailed list with cost estimates.   The landlord can then present this list to the tenant and proceed to make a deduction from the pet deposit, which serves as a security deposit.  The use of deposits encourages responsible pet ownership by giving the Tenant an opportunity to receive their deposit back.


Pet fees are a one-time payment for allowing a pet in the rental. It will not cover the damage costs a pet may incur while living in the rental property. As a result, landlords are not obliged to refund the pet fees to the renter.


Defining Pet Rent

Pet rents are additional monthly payments a landlord pays on top of the fixed monthly property rent. Most landlords make an extra 50 to 100 dollars a month when they charge pet rent.

But this amount can differ depending on the type of pet and number of pets a landlord allows in his rental property.

When you charge monthly pet rent, the income is recurring compared to charging a pet deposit or pet fee alone. This is the reason pet rents are a popular practice.


Deciding to Charge a Pet Fee

Normally, tenants hand over a security deposit for future property damage. If you charge a pet fee/deposit, you are confining the damages fund directly caused by the pet.

For simplicity’s sake, most landlords lump the security deposit as a budget for future damages of the property and damages incurred by the pet. Some states will not allow landlords to deduct from the security deposit the damages caused by the pet if they ask for a pet deposit.

Note that states have different laws governing pet fees and pet deposits. Some will allow and some won’t. There are also limits to the amount you can charge in case your state does not restrict these charges. Normally, 200 to 500 dollars is sufficient as a one-time pet fee.


Pet Charges Options

The following are some options to charge a tenant when it comes to pets:

  • Monthly Pet Rent
  • Pet Security Deposit
  • Pet Fee


Most tenants accept that additional charges will be incurred when they bring a pet to reside with them.  As a result, tenants are generally okay with paying for additional fees so long as they get to keep their pets.


Suggested Pet Charges






It is recommended to charge an incremental security deposit when allowing a pet.  This gives the landlord additional security for the increased risk of property damage but allows a responsible pet owner to earn it back if their pet is well behaved.

Well pet rent and or a pet fee can provide a landlord with additional revenue, it can also sometimes seem to be an entitlement for a certain amount of pet damage.  For example,  a tenant that is paying pet rent might rationalize that since the pet is paying rent a certain amount of pet wear-and-tear should be expected.  While the revenue of pet rent and fees is tempting it may, in some cases, be counterproductive.

A pet fee will also be a financial strain for the new tenant. They will already be spending on move-in expenses, paying a security deposit, advanced monthly deposits, and the present deposit.


Bottom Line

Allowing pets will create a larger pool of quality tenants to choose from. You’re also contributing to good causes such as reducing animals in shelters. You’re encouraging people to adopt animals and be responsible pet owners.


If you allow tenants to own pets, they’re likely to renew their leases. This is a great benefit to think about. You will be spending less on marketing expenses when your property becomes vacant.

You won’t be conducting another rigorous tenant screening. Vacancies can be financially draining, and it takes time to find quality tenants to occupy your unit.

Having loyal tenants and additional income from monthly pet rents are good outcomes from opening your rental property to pet ownership. If you clearly outline your pet policies to minimize pets from being a nuisance to neighbors, then it will be smooth sailing.

Further, defining your expectations of the pet owners and detailing their responsibilities will keep problems to a minimum. This is a win-win situation for both the landlord and the tenant. Tenants will enjoy their pets’ companionship and landlords will enjoy having long-term tenants.


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