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  1. #1
    silver162 is offline Junior Member
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    Apt. deposit, pet deposit, pet rent AND pet fee?

    Hi, I am currently looking for an apartment to rent in California and I came across an apartment complex that is pet-friendly. In the ad, it listed the refundable apartment deposit ($400), the refundable pet deposit ($500), the additional pet rent ($45) and then a non-refundable pet fee ($500). This is the first I've come across something like this. I've never heard of an additional non-refundable pet fee, and such a high one at that! Is that legal in the state of California? I tried looking online, but couldn't find anything about it (just pet deposits). Thanks!!
  2. #2
    seniorjudge is offline Senior Member
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    And what is your legal question for us?
    There are two rules for success:

    (1) Never tell everything you know.
  3. #3
    silver162 is offline Junior Member
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    My question is, is it legal to charge a tenant a non-refundable pet fee in addition to a refundable pet deposit and pet rent in the state of California?
    Last edited by silver162; 04-01-2008 at 02:39 PM.
  4. #4
    seniorjudge is offline Senior Member
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    Q: My question is, is it legal to charge a tenant a non-refundable pet fee in addition to a refundable pet deposit and pet rent?



    A: Yes; this is America.
    There are two rules for success:

    (1) Never tell everything you know.
  5. #5
    silver162 is offline Junior Member
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    Yes, thank you, I know this is America; That wasn't my question. However, going back to my original inquiry, I had read that many landlords try to go around the California law that states any deposit must be refundable by calling a deposit a "fee" and making it non-refundable...which is not legal. I was trying to figure out if this is what that particular rental company was doing or if it was legal and how. If anyone can give me a more detailed answer with possibly a law backing it up, it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
    Last edited by silver162; 04-01-2008 at 02:52 PM.
  6. #6
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    I do not believe such fees are legal in CA. CA LL (another poster) will probably be around soon to confirm or deny.
  7. #7
    Alaska landlord is offline Senior Member
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    This information may be dated, but here it is. You should confirm since new laws are passed frequently.

    California SECURITY DEPOSIT

    In California, a security deposit for residential property unfurnished, the security deposit may equal 2 times the rent. If furnished, the landlord may charge up to 3 times the rent.
    In California, there is no such thing as a “nonrefundable” security deposit. No matter what it’s called—a key deposit, cleaning fee, move-in fee, closing costs, last month’s rent, etc.—all money you pay in addition to your first month’s rent is refundable. Since “nonrefundable” deposits are illegal, don’t worry if your rental agreement includes a section about a “nonrefundable” deposit. This section will not be valid even if you have signed the rental contract or agreed to it.
    [url]http://www.rentlaw.com/dep/cadeposit.htm[/url]

    Other useful information available at:
    [url]http://www.weho.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/detail/navid/113/cid/764/[/url]
  8. #8
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    Since “nonrefundable” deposits are illegal, don’t worry if your rental agreement includes a section about a “nonrefundable” deposit. This section will not be valid even if you have signed the rental contract or agreed to it.
    I would still worry about it. Because if a LL is willing to put ONE illegal clause in his lease, how many other illegal things will he try to do? If he puts his wallet above the law in one instance, how willing will he be to pay for needed repairs, when they come up? It's just a sign of a shady landlord, you should keep looking.
  9. #9
    CA LL is offline Senior Member
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    Such fees if challenged in CA can be found to be illegal.

    It is very important to answer state specific questions only if you know the law of the state the poster is from.

    That being said, it is therefore your CHOICE whether you rent from them or not with that clause. IF you sign the agreement and agree to it, that will not help the case of challenging it per CA law.
  10. #10
    silver162 is offline Junior Member
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    Thank you all so much for your advice! I think I will indeed continue looking for a place. This place doesn't ring well with me either.
  11. #11
    Diane99207 is offline Junior Member
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    Charged move in fee but didn't move in

    Hi, I paid a nonrefundable $400 move in fee, but I did not move in to the apt. The very next day I told the landlord that I didn't want the apartment after all because of the overwhelming smell of mustiness and mildew and I didn't want to move my furniture in there. The landlord agreed to refund the rent, but not the move in fee. How can it be called a move in fee if I didn't move in, and aren't I entitled to a refund of this fee?
  12. #12
    Alaska landlord is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diane99207 View Post
    Hi, I paid a nonrefundable $400 move in fee, but I did not move in to the apt. The very next day I told the landlord that I didn't want the apartment after all because of the overwhelming smell of mustiness and mildew and I didn't want to move my furniture in there. The landlord agreed to refund the rent, but not the move in fee. How can it be called a move in fee if I didn't move in, and aren't I entitled to a refund of this fee?
    You gotta start your own thread and State of residency.
  13. #13
    Cvillecpm is offline Senior Member
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    A deposit is REFUNDABLE
    A fee is NOT REFUNDABLE * if you want a pet in their property, you pay their FEES/DEPOSITS!!!
  14. #14
    cdebergh is offline Junior Member
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    Pet fee is refundable as it is part of the security deposit

    This might be too late but I found this thread from a google search when looking into this exact pet fee issue in southern California.

    A pet fee must be refundable as it is part of the deposit. Keep reading for specifics and proof.

    [url=http://homeguides.sfgate.com/california-housing-rental-laws-concerning-pets-8111.html]California Housing Rental Laws Concerning Pets | Home Guides | SF Gate[/url]

    "Landlords can adopt additional pet policies, the Nolo legal website states. They can reserve the right to approve each proposed pet individually, and require proper identification, licensing and proof of vaccination. In some states they can charge a "pet fee" in addition to a damage deposit; California damage-deposit law doesn't permit that."

    [url]www.dca.ca.gov/publications/landlordbook/catenant.pdf[/url]

    "the security deposit may be called last
    month’s rent, security deposit, pet deposit, key
    fee, or cleaning fee. the security deposit may be
    a combination, for example, of the last month’s
    rent plus a specific amount for security. no
    matter what these payments or fees are called,
    the law considers them all, as well as any other
    deposit or charge, to be part of the security
    deposit. 89"

    The only exceptions are Application screening fee and New tenant processing fee.

    Page 25 of the CA Tenant pdf is where you can read it all.
  15. #15
    Zigner is offline Senior Member
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    This thread is just shy of 4 years old. Please don't necropost.

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