Question: I’ve already collected the maximum security deposit. Can I still collect a pet deposit if my tenant gets a pet?

Answer: No. A pet deposit is subject to the same cumulative limit as other security deposits — currently twice the monthly rent in most cases and dropping to one month of rent on July 1, 2024.

Also, CAA does not recommend calling any additional deposit collected as the result of a tenant having a pet 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 any amount designated as a “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 similar fees. These charges aren’t clearly authorized by law, and it is uncertain at best what their status is in the context of properties subject to rent control. The rules and policies that CAA recommends appear in our pet addendum. Any other policies should be developed in consultation with your legal counsel.

Also keep in mind that 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 Industry Insight and CAA’s recent Service and Support Animals Webinar, which is now available on-demand.