We’ve talked about what you should consider before adopting a dog or cat and bringing it into your apartment, but what about the costs? Once you’re sure your landlord allows pets (and allows the kind of pet you want to adopt), how much should you plan to spend? For many people, the excitement of having a pet of their very own overshadows the price, especially when it comes to renting an apartment. Here are some costs that you’ll likely encounter, so you can plan for them.
Costs from your Landlord
- Extra Security Deposit
Sometimes, landlords can ask for an extra security deposit that may be returned, contingent on the condition of your place. Watch for this especially if you have a puppy–landlords may worry about the pet soiling the carpet or chewing woodwork and thus apply a higher fee to your security deposit.
- Pet Fees
Much like an extra deposit (and more common), Pet Fees are a one-time deposit due upon move-in with your security deposit. This fee is separate and can only be applied to damage done by your pet, so if your pet causes no clear damage to your place, you should get it back upon moving out.
- Pet Rent
Likely most common of all of these fees is Pet Rent, which is added to your monthly rent. Usually this is reasonable, like $15-$30 and (in theory) covers the extra cleaning that your apartment complex will have to do when you move out.
- Property Damage
Watch for clauses in your lease that state you are responsible for all property damage, no matter the price. Many apartments only “take” the security deposit if the apartment is a disaster when you move out, but some state that they can charge you more than your deposit. Just check and ask questions if you’re unsure.
- Identification tags
In most cases, pets must wear identification and vaccination tags in order to live in your apartment (a communal area). Make sure to have a pet tag made and attached to their collar with your contact information on it in case your pet ever escapes.
Similarly, landlords can require that all animals are up to date on their vaccinations. Proof of these can come in the form of vaccination tags, vet receipts with detail, or forms from the vet. The landlord will likely ask to see the forms before confirming your pet.
- Spay or neuter
Landlords may also require pets be spayed or neutered, although this is not hugely common. Keep it in mind when adopting a pet, though.
Costs of owning a pet
- Collar & leash
If you have a dog, you’ll have to take them outside to use the bathroom. Most (if not all) apartments have a leash requirement–dogs are generally not allowed outside without being on a leash. So, make sure you budget for one.
Food doesn’t have to be very expensive, but check with your animal’s previous ownership (whether a breeder, shelter, other family) and buy the same brand your pet is used to, at least at first.
While toys may seem silly, they likely save you money in the long run. Toys keep pets busy and distracted. They can chew on a bone instead of chewing on your baseboards, for instance!
- Vet fees
Unfortunately, you never really know if you’ll get a healthy dog. Make sure to save a few bucks each month as an “emergency fund” in case your pet gets sick or needs an extra trip to the vet.