When searching for the perfect pet-friendly apartment, you may have come across certain restrictions regarding the size of your pet, the type of pet, and the breed of your dog. Some apartments may only allow small pets like cats, while others allow you to bring cats, dogs, birds, and fish with you when you move in. Most apartments communities in Gainesville are pet-friendly, but if you plan on bringing your furry friends, budget for a pet deposit. I talked to Eric Booth, Property Manager at Tivoli apartments, who gave me the scoop on why pet deposits exist and what renters should know when searching for a pet-friendly apartment.
There are a lot of great, pet-friendly apartments in Gainesville.
What is a Pet Deposit?
A pet deposit is an amount determined by an apartment community that all pet owners must pay before moving in. This deposit is sometimes non-refundable, depending on the apartment. Furthermore, a pet deposit may also take the form of a pet fee, a one-time fee that pet owners must pay before they move in. It's either one or the other, as no apartment community will charge a pet deposit and a separate pet fee up front. While a pet deposit may be a fixed price, a pet fee may be based on the combined weight of your pets or the number of pets. If you're bringing an 8lb cat to a community that charges a pet fee based on combined weight, your pet fee will be less than that of someone living in the same apartment community with two 8 lb cats and a 40 lb dog.
Why Do Apartments Charge Pet Deposits?
Many people may feel uncomfortable with the idea of a pet deposit, especially if they feel like their pet won't cause any damage to the apartment. To some, a pet deposit seems like just another way for the apartment community to charge you more money. Like the deposit on your apartment, a pet deposit is required before you move in. This deposit will cover any damage to the apartment caused by the pet.
As Eric told me, "A lot of people don't like pet deposits, but there's a good reason why they exist." From the perspective of an apartment community, it is impossible to know for sure whether a resident's pet will cause damage to an apartment. Even if you know Fido won't chew up the baseboards, cats and dogs can carry fleas and make plenty of messes when you're away.
Eric was able to give me really great example of how pets can be inadvertently destructive: "If you have a dog that hates being alone all day, they could tear up the carpet around doors and scratch the doors." Even if the damage looks minimal, it's not easy to seamlessly replace a small section of carpet, and may require a room to be entirely re-carpeted. A cat that's prone to spraying will not only damage carpets, but the wood underneath as well.
In the end, the apartment community is responsible for preparing the apartment for the next resident. Many communities take property damage caused by residents' pets very seriously, and work diligently to repair the damage, but those repair costs add up. A pet deposit guarantees that at least some of the damage cost is covered. The resident is still liable for any costs that exceed the pet deposit.
What is the Average Pet Deposit?
Pet deposits can vary in amount depending on the community. Keep in mind that most communities will only allow up to a certain number of pets. Some communities may require additional pet deposits if the number of pets you're bringing exceeds their limit. If you have multiple cats or dogs, ask the communities you're interested in how many pets you would be allowed to bring.
What is Pet Rent?
Some apartments may require pet-owning residents to pay pet rent each month. Monthly pet rent amounts can vary by species or number of pets. If you own cats, your monthly pet rent will probably be less than that of a dog owner because cats are considered to be less likely to cause as much damage. And if you own multiple cats or dogs, your monthly pet rent will be more than that of someone who only has one pet.
Which Apartments Charge Pet Deposits?
Any apartment that allows pets will likely charge a pet deposit, but the amount will vary. Some apartment communities charge a one-time pet fee based on the combined weight of the pets you plan on bringing instead of a general pet deposit. If you're curious about the specific deposit amount, call the apartment community and discuss their pet policy. If you own a dog, make sure you ask about their breed restrictions!
If you plan on brining your pets with you when you move, make sure you fully understand the pet regulations of each apartment you're interested in before signing a lease. Armed with your newfound knowledge of pet deposits, you should be ready to take your pet-friendly apartment hunting to the next level!