Question: How does the new security deposit law — which will limit security deposits to one month’s rent starting July 1, with some exceptions, affect pet deposits?

Answer: A pet deposit is generally subject to the same overall limit for security deposits — currently twice the monthly rent and dropping to one month of rent on July 1, 2024. CAA does not recommend calling the additional deposit a “pet deposit” since this may limit its use at the end of the tenancy; for example, if the tenant leaves owing unpaid rent, you may not be able to use the pet deposit to cover that rent. For more information, including more details on the upcoming change to the security deposit law, see our paper Security Deposits: Collection and Return.

Here is some additional information about pet-related charges:

CAA strongly recommends against charging pet rent or fees. These charges aren’t clearly authorized by law, and it is uncertain at best what their status is in the context of allowed rent increases at properties subject to rent control. In addition, you may be required to reduce the rent/eliminate the fee if the tenant no longer has the pet, or even refund the rent/fee, if the pet becomes a support animal, which could mean losing out on  a rent increase to which you are otherwise entitled.  The rules and policies that CAA recommends appear in our pet addendum. Any other policies should be developed in consultation with your legal counsel. You can find more information about this topic in this previous article,

California and federal fair housing laws prohibit charging pet rent, pet fees, pet deposits, or requiring pet insurance for support or service animals. This issue is covered in this paper.