Are Pet Fees Legal in California

Pet fees are not legal in all states. For example, California does not allow non-refundable fees, with the exception of late fees and registration fees. That`s why most California owners who allow pets choose to charge a pet security deposit and/or pet rental. Owners in California have the option to enforce their own pet policy with certain restrictions. It is perfectly legal to completely ban pets in rental property, to ban certain types of pets and breeds, or to apply size restrictions. In the vernacular, owners choose pet policies that only allow cats and dogs below a certain weight, or prohibit certain species that are more likely to be aggressive or cause property damage. Landlords also have the option to revoke the residence of an individual pet if they can reasonably determine that the pet poses a threat to the safety of other tenants or property. In terms of finances, it is required by law to require an additional deposit for each animal accepted on the property, however, the total deposit paid by the tenant cannot exceed two months` rent (three if the accommodation is furnished). In addition to a deposit, a monthly „pet rental“ may be charged in addition to the original rental price, provided that the total rent does not exceed the limits imposed in rent-controlled areas. However, California passed a law in 2012 that states that owners cannot restrict pets based on certain requirements.

The law, known as SB 1229, prohibits landlords from requiring tenants to have their pets landlocked or devocalized (debarked). Both changes require surgery and are irreversible, which permanently affects the animal. Therefore, California lawmakers have made it illegal for owners to require them as criteria for pet rentals. An unauthorized pet is a violation of the rental agreement and can be treated as such. It is always recommended to follow formal procedures. Submit an official notice to the tenant asking them to correct the violation within a certain period of time, usually between 24 hours and a week, by removing the animal from the premises or registering it properly and paying the associated fees or deposits. Indicate in the note that if the tenant does not comply, the landlord may decide to complete the eviction process. Pet deposits, pet fees, and pet rentals all have a slightly different structure, but each type of fee is designed to cover pet-related damages and give the owner additional income in exchange for allowing pets.

Your landlord may legally require a pet deposit before moving in. If your pet is causing damage to your rent, your landlord can use that money to fix it. However, under California law, a surety with a different name is always a surety. The state allows landlords to charge no more than two months` rent in the form of a security deposit, whether they call it a deposit or a pet deposit. Therefore, any deposits, pets or other deposits that your landlord needs should not exceed a total of more than two months` rent. This limit increases to three months` rent for furnished properties. In any case, keep in mind that none of this applies to service animals or emotional support animals. While landlords can deduct pet-related damages from the deposit, they cannot charge additional fees, deposits, or rent for service or emotional support animals. The best way to treat unauthorized pets with full legal protection is to include a clearly defined pet policy in each rental agreement. The Pet Policy section should include pet ownership rules as well as a predetermined procedure in the event that an unauthorized animal is discovered on the premises.

In addition to the forbidden pets kept on the property, any pet that is not properly registered to avoid additional charges is an unauthorized animal and can be treated using the same procedure. Owners may require the tenant to submit official pet information such as breed, weight, and current vaccinations to confirm that the pet complies with pet guidelines. Pet rental is a recurring monthly fee that owners charge regardless of the damage. It usually ranges from $20 to $75 per month per pet and is non-refundable. Similar to a pet fee, pet rental is simply the entrance fee for pets into the rental property. However, the recurring nature of pet rental means that it is not considered a non-refundable fee and is therefore legal in California. A freelance writer and small business owner with a decade of experience, Dan has contributed legal and financial content from a variety of sources including Chron, Fortune,, Motley Fool, and MSN Money. In California, 52.9% of households have at least one pet. And while it can be a joy to have an animal friend, it can also come with challenges when looking for a place to rent.

Between pet-friendly accommodation restrictions and, in many cases, the additional pet-related rental fees, you need to be prepared. If an owner chooses to allow pets, California law allows them to choose which animals to allow and which to reject. Your landlord can legally choose to allow cats and not dogs. It may also specify that certain breeds of dogs are not allowed. Weight restrictions are also legal and ask your landlord to explain that pets should weigh less than a certain weight such as 20 or 30 pounds. Above all, it is important to clearly define a pet policy in the rental agreement. This section should include both the Pet Policy and the Procedure for the Detection of Unauthorized Animals. This provides a standard and non-discriminatory procedure and keeps the owner legally protected. Of course, a tenant who owns a pet that is not allowed on the property is an unauthorized pet. In addition, any pet that is not properly registered or does not comply with the provisions of the Pet Policy is also considered unauthorized. Owners may request the submission of relevant information about the animal, including name, weight, breed and current vaccinations. The federal government`s Fair Housing Act does not allow owners to severely restrict pets based on their size, weight or breed, although they can determine the suitability of the pet that inhabits the rental space based on the pet in question.

In addition, California Civil Code Section 54.3 protects tenants who use service animals such as service dogs, guide dogs, or signal dogs from paying additional fees, including standard pet fees, to bring their service animals into a residence. These include animals for psychiatric or emotional support. Deposits or fees for pets, such as normal deposits, must be refunded. Once a person`s tenancy ends, the landlord can only require the amount of security or pet deposit reasonably necessary for the purposes set out in the law, for example.B. repair the damage or clean the unit so that it is at the same level of cleanliness as when the tenant moved in. .