I'm apartment shopping, and it's standard in this area for landlords to ask for a $300 to $500 non-refundable pet fee in addition to pet rent of $25 to $45 per month, and/or (refundable) pet deposit. Considering I have two well-behaved cats with references from past landlords, I expect no damages to have been incurred by the time I leave and don't understand why a pet deposit doesn't suffice, especially when in addition to pet rent. It's my understanding this fee actually generally does NOT cover damage. Is this fee legal? And do I sign away my rights to recoup this in small claims court when I leave if I sign the contract and pay the fee? What can I do to avoid paying the fee, or at least preserve my rights to try to recover it in small claims court after the lease is over? Thanks.
Trademark Application Attorney
Yes, pet deposits and pet rent are legal. Whether or not you will recover any of the additional deposit (the "regular" deposit) upon move out, I can't say. If the pet deposit is non-refundable, then it's non-refundable and you'd be out of luck in small claims court as to that amount.