Landlords may have additional charges for tenants who have pets:
- Additional rent by way of a one-time pet fee or a monthly pet fee, or both; and
- A deposit that is part of the security deposit and refundable at the end of a tenancy.
If the landlord specifies that the pet fee is “non-refundable”, the fee is not part of a security deposit. If there is any lack of clarity in the lease, money paid by a tenant to have a pet may be interpreted to be a refundable deposit. If the total of the pet deposit and security deposit exceeds one month’s rent, the amount in excess is immediately refundable to the tenant and may be deducted from rent by the tenant.
At the end of the tenancy, damages caused by the pet may be offset against the pet fee, but the landlord is not required to return any part of the pet fee, even if the damages are less than the amount of the fee. Damages in excess of the pet fee may be claimed against the security deposit, and against the tenant, if the damages exceed the amount of the security deposit.