Realty Bites

How much are pet fees in NYC rentals? Do I have to pay 'pet rent'?

By Austin Havens-Bowen  |
October 3, 2019 - 10:00AM

In the past, some landlords asked for deposits that could range from $250 to $1,000 per animal.

Michell Zappa/Flickr

I own a dog and I’m looking for a new rental. I’ve heard that landlords are not supposed to charge extra security deposits for pets because of New York’s new rent laws, but some landlords are still asking for some kind of extra money. What’s the deal?

New York’s recent rent reforms prohibit landlords from charging more than one month’s rent for a security deposit, which eliminates security deposits if you have a pet. 

But according to brokers that Brick Underground spoke to, some landlords are still seeking additional money to cover their costs for damage and stains caused by four-legged tenants. So if you are signing a new lease, and you have a pet, you may now be asked for either a one-time pet fee or monthly “pet rent” (on top of your own rent).

In the past, it was up to landlords to decide how to charge for pets, if they charged anything at all. Some charged fees and others asked for deposits that could range from $250 to $1,000 per animal. 

Of course, a deposit that is refunded to you if there’s no damage is more desirable than a fee or pet rent, so the change in the rent laws may end up hurting some pet owners. 

[Editor's Note: Realty Bites tackles your NYC rental questions. Have a query for our experts? Drop us an email. We respect all requests for anonymity.] 

Read on for a breakdown of the two ways you can expect to pay in order to cohabitate with your four-legged family member.

Pet rent

Pet rent is a common way buildings are now charging for your pets. On average, you can expect to pay $35 to $50 per pet, with a two-pet cap. It will appear as a separate monthly charge in addition to your rent—similar to an amenity charge, says Molly Franklin, an agent at Citi Habitats.  

Luxury new construction is where you are most likely to encounter pet rent. “It’s viewed the same way as a cleaning fee," says Franklin. 

But the fees will go for more than just cleaning up accidents. A landlord’s perspective is that now that a security deposit is capped to one month’s rent, it may not be enough to cover serious damage, like a pet that destroys the floors, so they need to ask for more money.

Pet fees

Some landlords are charging a one-time pet fee, which is obviously less painful than monthly payments, but is an upfront, non-refundable cost. Pet fees can range from $250 to $500 per pet, and be as high as $1,000, brokers say. 

You pay the pet fee when you sign the lease and it is carried over to the following year if you decide to renew your lease, says Zain Chamoun, an agent at Citi Habitats. So, you won’t have to pay again when you renew your lease.

If you have a cat, you may also be asked to pay a fee, but generally speaking, fees for dogs are higher.



Austin Havens-Bowen

Staff Writer

Staff writer Austin Havens-Bowen covers the rental market and answers renters' questions in a column called Realty Bites. He previously reported on local news for the Queens Ledger and The Hunts Point Express in the Bronx. He graduated from Hunter College with a BA in media studies. He rents a one-bedroom apartment in Astoria with his boyfriend and their two cats.

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