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As the world grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic, it witnessed a surge in pet ownership across the United States. Simultaneously, the real estate market experienced unprecedented changes, with rental costs soaring to new heights. An intriguing connection between these two trends has emerged: renters with pets are now paying nearly $2,000 more per year on average than those without furry companions.
Data from the popular rental marketplace, Zillow, reveals a significant disparity in rental costs between properties that allow pets and those that do not. According to their findings, the median monthly rent for pet-friendly properties stood at $2,061, whereas non-pet-friendly properties commanded a median rent of $1,898. This translates to an annual difference of approximately $2,000, making it clear that owning a pet can have a substantial impact on a renter’s budget.
The surge in people adding pets to their family during the pandemic is a contributing factor to this trend. In just three years, the number of Americans with pets increased by 13 percent. More than 59 percent of renters reported having at least one animal in 2022, compared to 46 percent in 2018. The pandemic, characterized by lockdowns, remote work, and increased feelings of loneliness, prompted many individuals to seek companionship in the form of pets. As a result, pet ownership became a prevalent lifestyle choice.
Despite the increasing number of pet owners, only 54 percent of rental listings on Zillow explicitly state that pets are allowed. This shortage of pet-friendly housing options has led to challenges for renters with pets, forcing them to pay a premium for accommodations that accommodate their furry friends. Notably, Texas stands out as the most pet-friendly state in the U.S., with three cities ranking as the top cities for pet-friendly rental housing stock.
Additional costs for renters with pets are not limited to higher monthly rents. Landlords employ various strategies to recoup potential damages and mitigate the risks associated with pets on their properties. These methods include pet deposits, fees, and pet rent.
- Pet Deposits: These deposits, typically ranging from $200 to $500, function like security deposits. If no significant damage is caused by the pet during the tenancy, this fee should be refunded to the renter.
- Pet Fees: Pet fees are non-refundable charges that tenants must pay for keeping a pet in the rental property. These fees can vary widely, depending on the size of the pet, ranging from less than $100 to more than $500.
- Pet Rent: An emerging trend, pet rent involves landlords charging an additional monthly fee, typically between 1 and 3 percent of the rent, for accommodating pets.
The increasing number of pets in the United States has led to a noticeable trend in the rental market. Renters with pets are paying considerably more each year than those without, reflecting both the limited supply of pet-friendly housing and the additional costs associated with accommodating pets. As rental costs continue to rise across the country, the relationship between pets and housing costs remains a significant consideration for renters and landlords alike. Ultimately, finding a balance that accommodates the needs of pets while ensuring the financial viability of rental properties is a challenge that will continue to evolve in the years to come.
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