Can a landlord use a pet deposit toward un-pet-related expenses? In other words can the pet deposit and security deposit be legally combined? If so/not can you please cite which legal section this information can be found?


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Yo Kass Profile
Yo Kass answered

So I guess there are two points to think about:

1) What does your "local" government say? The reason being that tenancy deposit law many vary from state to state and country to country.

2) What does your contract actually say? In most cases, the funds in a pet deposit can only be used to cover very specific costs, and this should be outlined in your contract.

I ran a quick Google search and come across this site covering tenancy law in British Columbia.

The main line you'll be interested in is:

If a landlord is entitled to keep all or part of a pet damage deposit, the deposit may be used only for damage caused by the pet unless the tenant agrees otherwise.

Whilst this obviously only applies within the jurisdiction of British Columbia, I would be surprised if similar laws didn't apply in most jurisdictions.

Finally, things like security and pet damage deposits should be arbitrated by an independent third party. It shouldn't be up to your landlord whether he returns your deposit or not, he'll have to make a claim to the tenancy deposit scheme and they will decide whether his claim is justified or not.

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Yo Kass
Yo Kass commented
Yes, please let us know how this plays out.

It's so frustrating hearing stories of landlords trying to make tenant's lives as difficult as possible, but I'm glad you're sharing your experiences.

Now that I know you're based in California, I'll try and see if I can find some more specific advice that might help out too.

Good luck :)
Meadow Rain
Meadow Rain commented
Thank you, very much, Kass! I found some great info today I shared in an answer in hopes it can help someone else.
Meadow Rain
Meadow Rain commented
I spoke with the management company today to let them know Im the 5th person who was charged nearly the entire deposit and that the onsite is the one doing the work. They are now trying to say they have to replace the carpet due a stain and urine damage! I said if that was the case shouldn't I of had the opportunity to be shown this otherwise they could say anything they wanted. She's calling the manager to ask for photos showing this. I was charged $165 Cleaning $215 Painting (no painting or touch up was done prior to move in but the contract states a percentage of painting dependent on how long we resided there. She could already see where we were overcharged based on that alone). I let her know aside from carpet cleaning the onsite manager does all the cleaning, painting and repairs himself (possibly listing other vendors?) so the charges are going directly to him which would explain the inflated charges. She said she was unfamiliar with the property but also seemed surprised to find out he was doing it all himself.
I also informed her of the laws I discovered and she was genuinely unaware of the ones regarding pet deposits.
Meadow Rain Profile
Meadow Rain answered

I found this article explaining the various codes and breakdown The easiest way to explain it is once a dog is deemed a service dog they are no longer considered to be a pet. They are now considered to be an ADA covered assistive aid, which they are required to comply with as a "reasonable accommodation ). Now this does not mean the renter is not liable for damages their assitive animal causes. They can be billed for the damages and held responsible in a court of law, however this is to remain seperate from the security deposit. Here is a link I found to help with the codes.

In my search for this info I have found so many people who just figure their deposit is lost once they move in and they have no more rights to it. For those who gave up without a fight I say, never assume and don't let yourself be taken advantage of. Get to know your renters laws in your your state BEFORE you rent. It could save you a LOT of headaches in the end.

For me, the quest continues...I was told I would hear back within two days. If this does not get resolved I WILL take it to small claims court. Hopefully it won't get that far but to me even if it's $100. For my "trouble" that's $100 bucks I can use!  (However my pet deposit was $600.)

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