How Do You Get Around Pet Fees At An Apartment?

Are you a pet owner looking for an apartment but worried about the extra expenses that come with it? Don’t fret. There are ways to get around pet fees at an apartment and keep your furry friend by your side.

Pets are often considered part of the family, and leaving them behind isn’t an option for most pet owners. Luckily, many apartments now allow pets, but some may charge additional fees to cover potential damage or cleaning costs. However, there are several ways to avoid these charges and save some cash.

In this post, we’ll explore some creative ways to bypass pet fees at an apartment. From negotiating with your landlord to finding apartments without any pet fees, we’ve got you covered. We’ll even discuss how getting a service animal can help you avoid these charges altogether.

So sit back, grab a cup of coffee, and read on as we share our tips for saving money while keeping your furry companion close by.

What Are Pet Fees?

Chances are, you might have come across the term “pet fees” during your search. What exactly are pet fees? Pet fees are non-refundable charges that landlords or property managers impose on tenants who have pets in their apartments. These fees are separate from the rent and security deposit and are intended to cover the costs associated with pet ownership, such as cleaning, maintenance, and repairs.

Pet Fees vs. Pet Deposits

It’s important to note that pet fees are different from pet deposits. A pet deposit is a refundable amount of money paid by the tenant to cover any damages caused by their pets. On the other hand, pet fees are non-refundable charges paid upfront by the tenant before moving in. The purpose of pet fees is to offset potential damages caused by pets and to ensure that tenants take responsibility for their pets’ behavior.

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Types of Pet Fees

Pet fees can come in different forms, depending on the apartment complex’s policies. Some common types of pet fees include a one-time pet fee charged upfront when you move in with your pet, monthly pet rent added to your monthly rent for having a pet, non-refundable pet deposit that covers any damages caused by your pet, and refundable pet deposit that is only refunded if there are no damages caused by your pet.

Why Do Pet Fees Exist?

Pet fees exist to protect landlords and property managers from potential damages caused by pets. Pets can cause damage to floors, walls, furniture, and leave stains and odors. By charging pet fees upfront, landlords can offset these costs and ensure that tenants take responsibility for their pets’ behavior.

How Can You Avoid Pet Fees?

Although it may be difficult to avoid pet fees altogether, there are strategies you can use to potentially reduce or eliminate them. For instance, you might negotiate with your landlord if you have a good rental history and a well-behaved pet. Alternatively, you could look for apartments that do not charge pet fees at all or only charge fees for certain types of pets. Lastly, consider adopting a pet from a shelter that offers waived adoption fees for certain pets, such as older pets or those with special needs.

Negotiating with Your Landlord or Property Manager

And the thought of negotiating with your landlord or property manager about pet fees can be daunting. However, approaching the conversation in a professional and respectful way can help you reach a positive outcome. Here are some tips to help you negotiate with your landlord or property manager about pet fees.

Research and Prepare

Before you start negotiating, do your research. Look into the pet policies of other apartments in the area to get an idea of what is reasonable to ask for. It’s also important to gather information about any laws or regulations that may affect your situation. This will give you a better understanding of what to expect and what is realistic.

Be Honest and Provide Evidence

When you speak with your landlord or property manager, be honest about your situation and explain why having a pet is important to you. If you have a well-behaved pet, provide evidence of this such as training certificates or references from previous landlords. This can help to build trust and show that you’re a responsible pet owner.

Address Concerns and Offer Solutions

It’s essential to consider the landlord or property manager’s perspective. They may be concerned about potential damage to the property or complaints from other tenants. Address these concerns by offering solutions such as taking extra precautions like using a crate when you’re not home or keeping your pet on a leash in common areas. By showing that you’re willing to work together, you may be able to find a solution that works for everyone involved.

Be Prepared to Negotiate and Compromise

Negotiations are often a two-way street, so be prepared to compromise if necessary. If your landlord or property manager is unwilling to waive the pet fee completely, ask if they would be willing to negotiate for a lower fee or allow you to pay it in installments. Remember that finding a solution that works for both parties is vital.

Looking for Apartments That Don’t Charge Pet Fees

But don’t worry – it’s not impossible. With some research and persistence, you can find a pet-friendly apartment that suits your needs and budget.

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To start your search, begin by scouring online rental sites like Zillow,, and These websites allow you to filter your search results by pet policy, so you can quickly narrow down your options to only those apartments that are truly pet-friendly.

Another option is to reach out to local real estate agents or apartment locator services. These professionals may have access to listings that aren’t publicly advertised or know of complexes that don’t charge pet fees. They can also help you navigate the rental process and negotiate with landlords on your behalf.

Consider looking at smaller, privately owned complexes or duplexes as well. These landlords may be more flexible with their pet policies and willing to negotiate on fees. They may also be more open to hearing your specific needs as a pet owner.

When searching for apartments, make sure to read the lease agreement carefully. Some apartments may advertise as pet-friendly but still charge additional fees or require additional deposits for pets. Don’t be afraid to ask the landlord about any fees or policies that aren’t clear before signing a lease.

To summarize, here are some key steps to follow when searching for apartments that don’t charge pet fees:

  • Start by searching online rental sites with pet policy filters.
  • Reach out to local real estate agents or apartment locator services.
  • Consider smaller, privately owned complexes or duplexes.
  • Read the lease agreement carefully and clarify any unclear policies with the landlord.

Adopting From a Shelter or Rescue Organization With Waived Fees

Adopting from a shelter or rescue organization with waived fees can be a great way to save money while giving a deserving animal a loving home. However, before making the decision to adopt, there are some important considerations to keep in mind.

Firstly, it’s essential to research various organizations and find one that aligns with your values and goals. Check their website and social media pages for any current promotions or fee waivers. You can also reach out to local shelters and rescue groups to inquire about any current promotions.

Once you’ve found a shelter or rescue organization with waived fees, it’s important to remember that there may still be other expenses associated with bringing a new pet into your home. These include veterinary costs, food, toys, and other supplies. Make sure to budget for these costs before making the final decision.

Before adopting, consider the age of the pet. While puppies and kittens are adorable, they require a lot of time and attention. Adopting an older pet may be a better fit for your lifestyle. Spend time with the pet before adopting to ensure it’s a good fit for your family and lifestyle.

It’s also important to prepare your home for your new pet. Remove any hazards and provide a comfortable living space. Ensure that your home is safe and secure for your new furry friend.

Tips for Finding Fee-Free Apartments

But with some helpful tips and strategies, you can find the perfect place that won’t break the bank. Here are five sub-sections that will help guide you in your search.

Research Pet-Friendly Apartments

Begin by researching apartments that are pet-friendly. Many landlords charge additional fees for pets, but some may not. Use online apartment search engines that allow you to filter results based on pet policies. Make sure to look for apartments that specifically mention they don’t charge additional fees for pets.

Negotiate with Landlords

If you find an apartment you love but has a pet fee, don’t give up just yet. Try negotiating with the landlord. Explain your situation and see if they would be willing to waive or lower the fee. Sometimes a landlord may be willing to work with you if you’re a responsible tenant.

Look for Private Rentals

Private rentals, such as those advertised on Craigslist or Facebook marketplace, may be more flexible when it comes to pet policies. These landlords may not have strict rules and regulations like larger apartment complexes. However, make sure to do your due diligence before renting from a private landlord to avoid scams.

Consider Alternative Housing Options

If finding a fee-free apartment is proving difficult, consider alternative housing options such as renting a room in a house or a basement apartment. These types of rentals may have more lenient pet policies since they’re not part of larger apartment complexes.

Get a Referral from a Friend

Networking with other pet owners can also be helpful in finding fee-free apartments. Ask friends who have pets if they know of any fee-free apartments in the area. They may have insider knowledge and be able to recommend places to look. You can also join online groups or forums dedicated to pet owners in your area and ask for recommendations or advice on the best places to live.

Making Sure You Can Afford the Fees Before Signing a Lease

Before you put pen to paper on that lease agreement, it’s important to consider whether you can afford all the pet-related fees. From initial pet deposits to monthly pet rent and additional fees for damages, these costs can add up quickly and put a strain on your finances.

To avoid financial stress, here are some tips on how to make sure you can afford the fees before signing a lease for an apartment with a pet.

Create a budget

Start by creating a budget specifically for pet-related expenses. This should include all potential costs associated with having a pet in an apartment. By having a clear idea of the expenses, you can determine if you have enough disposable income to cover them without putting yourself in financial strain.

Research specific pet policies

It’s essential to research the pet policies of each apartment complex you consider and factor those costs into your budget. Some apartments may charge higher fees than others, so it’s crucial to do your homework and compare prices.

Here are some common pet-related fees to look out for:

  • Initial pet deposit: A one-time fee charged upfront when you move in.
  • Monthly pet rent: A recurring fee added to your monthly rent payment.
  • Additional fees for damages: Some apartments may require additional fees for any damages caused by your furry friend.

Consider alternative living arrangements

If the costs are too high, consider alternative living arrangements that may be more cost-effective. Renting a room in a shared house or finding a landlord who doesn’t charge pet fees are just a few examples. However, be sure to weigh the potential drawbacks of these alternatives, such as less privacy or undesirable living conditions.

Be honest with yourself about your financial situation

Lastly, it’s vital to be honest with yourself about your financial situation and what you can realistically afford. It may be tempting to try and get around pet fees, but it’s important to ensure that you can provide for your furry friend without sacrificing your own financial stability.

Understanding the Legalities of Pet Fees in Your Area

Pet fees and pet deposits are legal in most states, but there are some exceptions to be aware of. For example, landlords in California cannot charge a pet deposit or fee for service animals or emotional support animals. Similarly, in Michigan and New Jersey, landlords can only charge a pet fee if the pet causes damage to the apartment.

To make informed decisions, it’s crucial to understand the difference between a pet deposit and a pet fee. A pet deposit is generally refundable at the end of your lease term as long as your pet hasn’t caused any damage to the apartment. In contrast, a pet fee is a one-time non-refundable charge meant to cover the cost of cleaning and other expenses related to having a pet in the apartment.

Before signing a lease that includes pet fees, it’s crucial to read over the agreement carefully and ask any questions you may have. Some landlords may try to charge excessive fees or make unreasonable demands on pet owners, so it’s essential to understand your rights and obligations under the law.

To summarize, understanding the legalities of pet fees in your area is an important first step in finding ways to get around them. Here are some additional sub-topics to consider:

  • Pet-friendly apartments may have higher rent prices
  • Some landlords may require specific breeds or sizes of pets
  • Some landlords may limit the number of pets allowed per apartment
  • Some landlords may require proof of vaccinations and spaying/neutering

Knowing When to Walk Away from an Apartment with High Pet Fees

However, it’s crucial to know when to walk away from an apartment with high pet fees to avoid unnecessary financial strain and limitations on your furry friend.

Firstly, consider your budget. Paying high pet fees can put a significant strain on your finances, so it’s essential to calculate the total cost of living in the apartment with the added pet fees. If the fees are too high, it’s best to look for more affordable options to avoid financial stress.

Another factor to consider is the type of pet you have. Some apartments may have breed or size restrictions that limit your options. Furthermore, landlords may charge higher pet fees for certain breeds or types of pets. Research the complex’s pet policies before signing a lease to ensure that your pet is allowed and the fees are reasonable.

Moreover, keep in mind that there are many pet-friendly apartments available, and it’s important to find one that fits both your needs and your budget. If the pet fees are too high or the restrictions are too limiting, it’s best to walk away from the apartment and continue your search. This way, you can save time, money, and stress in the long run.


In conclusion, navigating pet fees when renting an apartment with a furry friend can be a daunting task. However, there are several ways to get around these fees and keep your beloved pet close by.

Negotiating with your landlord or property manager is a great way to start. It’s important to do your research, be honest about your situation, address concerns, and offer solutions. Being prepared to negotiate and compromise can go a long way in reducing or even eliminating pet fees.

Another option is searching for apartments that don’t charge pet fees. This requires using online rental sites with pet policy filters, reaching out to local real estate agents or apartment locator services, considering smaller privately owned complexes or duplexes, and reading the lease agreement carefully.

Adopting from shelters with waived fees is also worth considering. However, it’s important to research various organizations to find one that aligns with your values and goals. Preparing your home accordingly and considering the age of the pet are also crucial factors to keep in mind.

Before signing a lease that includes pet fees, it’s essential to create a budget specifically for pet-related expenses. Understanding the legalities of pet fees in your area is also crucial in making informed decisions about getting around them.

Ultimately, if high pet fees put a significant strain on finances or limit options too much, it may be time to walk away from an apartment.