Post # 1
I was hoping to get advice from bees who are currently landlords… Fiance and I rent a townhouse – and we have a cat (legal). We paid a pet deposit (~$200) plus we pay an extra $20/month in “pet rent.” Before we signed the lease, I asked the landlord why the pet deposit + pet rent. His response was that, in his experience, pets usually caused much more damage than the pet deposit ($200) usually covered, but people were reluctant to pay more than that for a non-refundable pet deposit.
Our cat is old and just sits there. I really don’t think she has done $440 worth of damage (pet deposit plus 1 year of pet rent) to the place – and I have never been charged for any cat-related damages in the past. We have been in our townhouse for 1 year, and are planning on being there for the next 2 years. I really don’t want to pay another $480 in “pet rent” over the next 2 years.
Our plan is to steam clean the carpet this month, and then next month, go to the landlord and say “hey, money is tight for us. We know you are charging us $20/month in pet rent. We don’t think our cat has caused any damage to the house in the past year. We invite you to come and check out the house and look for pet damage. If you think our cat is creating damage that warrants the additional pet rent, we will continue paying it, but if not, we would like you to drop the pet-rent from our lease.” Now, keep in mind we have been living there, so while the house is in fairly decent shape, there are pictures on the walls – we plan on patching the nail holes before we move out. Also, since we have been walking on the carpets for the past year, we are going to steam clean them before the landlord comes over.
DO you guys think this is a good idea? Or asking for trouble? Or just a waste of time?
Post # 3
I’m not a landlord, but I don’t think it is a bad idea. It never hurts to ask and the worst they can tell you is no. I would do it if I were you. $20 a month in “pet rent” is a little ridiculous in my opinion. I could understand if you had a new puppy or kitten that was in training or tore at things. I say go for it!
Post # 4
I’m not a landlord and while I don’t think your plan would hurt you in any way, I’d bet it would be a waste of time and effort. Pet rents are pretty common (at least from my expereiences and those of friends). They are just kind of one of those sunk costs of renting if you choose to be a pet owner.
It isn’t really one of those things that a landlord can assess on a case by case basis. So to cover themselves for the pets that do cause damage, they have to charge for all pets.
Post # 5
I don’t think it hurts to ask and your approach is good. Like PP mentioned, pet rent is pretty common in my area. I have paid a pet deposit ($500) plus $40 a month rent. So yeah, you got it good. LOL But ask, worst he can say is no.
Post # 6
I’d say go for it. This actually gave me the idea to do the same and we’ve lived there for 2 years. Our rent has gone up but we’ve noticed A LOT of people move out, as in we no longer have 2 bottom neighbors, a second floor neighbor, and a side neighbor. I doubt they want more people to leave so this might be a good bargaining tool in getting a cheaper rent. I think my plan will be, we’ll continue to pay pet rent but don’t increase our regular rent. Can’t hurt to try!
Post # 7
I hate the idea of pet rent. I personally think its a money grab and don’t buy the whole “they cause more damage than the pet deposit” thing, because would the excess costs in damage not come out of your overall security deposit?
My parents are landlords to a number of properties and knowing them, they would negotiate. For them, it would be worth ditching the fee to keep a reliable/responsible tenant. If you do approach them, I would definitely make a point to say this extra cost a point you’re considering in your decision to stay put for another year vs. finding somewhere else to stay that wouldn’t charge “pet rent”. At least at that point they’ll see it as a waive the fee, or loose a good tenant scenerio. That said, if you rent from a management company, or something larger than private landlords, I wouldn’t be too optimistic about them budging. At that point, protocal is protocal and they’ll just find a new tenant to pay the fee.
I hope it works out for you. It bugs me so much to hear of someone like you with one silly cat who has to pay so much. Darling Husband and I have two cats and a large dog and all we had to pay was a $200 refundable pet deposit. Not exactly fair!
Post # 8
I’m a landlord. We don’t allow pets in the rental though, so the idea of “pet rent” is new to me. I don’t think it would cause any trouble to ask, but I doubt he’ll drop it from the rent. It seems like a gimmick to me to make some easy extra cash, and I doubt he’ll be willing to give that up.
No harm in trying though!
Post # 9
I just mentioned this to my husband, and his advice is to go with your plan (steam clean and invite landlord for inspection), with the angle that you’ve already paid a lot of “pet rent” in additon to the deposit, and that you’re not prepared to pay it amymore and will be moving out if it’s not dropped from the rent.
He suggests that that’s the way to make him think twice about refusing, since with your current plan there’s nothing for him to lose in just saying no.
Post # 10
I think it’s perfectly reasonable to ask your landlord. Long term good tenants are the goal of most landlords, so you might approach it as “we’d like to stay here for 2 more years, we like the house, etc. but we think our pet isn’t causing the type of damage the extra fees are for, and we’ve already paid X amount of extra rent for the animal.” You could also settle for a reduction in the fee, if he’s not willing to waive it completely.
My husband and I are in the process of buying a rental property, so while I don’t have experience with tenants yet, we have been doing a lot of number crunching and looking at properties that have been lived in by pets and not. We’ve seen a lot of homes with excessive pet hair and carpet stains, and even those with the carpets removed, can still have an odor. From what I know, most landlords aim to give the walls a fresh coat of paint, clean the carpets, and scrub the kitchen/bathroom between tenants (at most) – pretty minor expenses. Replacing flooring gets expensive fast and increases down time between tenants. Anyway, I think that’s why the pet rent is reasonable in many cases. BUT if your animal isn’t causing that kind of damage, and you keep the place clean, I think it’s worth asking for some leniency.
Post # 11
Thanks for the advice! I was going to throw in the ‘ole “We are willing to sign another year-long lease” but I am hesitant to sign a 2-year lease. My contract gets renewed annually, and I know I will be teaching for the 11-12 year, and while I am fairly certain I will be employed for the 12-13 year, I don’t want to lock myself into a lease that we can’t afford on just FI’s salary alone.
@NJmeetsBX- I feel for you guys – you are paying a LOT in pet “rent”…..BUT, I live in SW VA….I am pretty sure cost of living is at least twice as much in DC as it is here!!!!
Post # 12
I don’t see any harm in asking what you said. However, another option is to ask that the “pet-rent” be refundable so long as there are no cat-damages when you move out. Make sure you take TONS of pics of everything, every room, everywhere.
Post # 13
I think it’s definitely reasonable. I wouldn’t ask them to drop the pet rent until a year after you’ve leased with them though. You signed the lease and agreed to pet rent for a year, if you continue to live there and there wasn’t any damage last year… then I would definitely ask to drop the pet rent (just like you only pay pet deposit once). And actually, when you move out, I would also ask as a compromise if any of the pet deopsit can be refunded. Legally they don’t have to, but if you have a nice landlord (like mine) he/she will refund the deposit for the most part.
Post # 14
I used to be a landlord and we allowed a pet (with no deposit). I live in the house I used to rent and seeing the scratches the dog left on the floors and the smell of pee that lingered in the back yard on the brick patio was annoying but not the end of the world.
All that said – I think what you are asking is MORE than reasonable. What kind of lease do you have? If it’s close to the time it’s up, it may be more of an incentive for your landlord to re-write it – especially if you a good tenant. The prospect of finding a good tenant would be enough to waive the $20 fee. Also – if the landlord sounds like they are open to it – you might want to offer a routine inspection in yearly (or whatever) intervals – just so they have peace of mind.
Edit: don’t worry about pictures on the wall – everyone puts pictures on the wall! If you could have the house spotless (similar as you would if you were selling it) it will make a great impression and show that you are taking good care of the property.
Post # 15
I would die for only $20 a month pet rent. We have two chihuahuas, and our pet rent is $50 per pet, so $100 a month. I don’t think it would necessarily hurt to ask, but don’t get your hopes up. While this is the most I’ve ever paid in pet rent, I’ve never had an apartment that didn’t require *something* for a monthly fee.