A pet deposit is a one-time charge that a tenant pays upfront for having a pet live in a rental property.
Like any other security deposit, a pet deposit helps ensure that the tenant cleans up after their pet and takes care not to let their pet damage the rental property. A pet deposit may be refundable depending on if a pet damages the property and how much damage is done.
A pet deposit is paid one time and is refundable unless a pet damages a rental property, in which case the deposit may be only partially refundable, if at all. A pet fee is a non-refundable payment. It may be a one-time payment or it may be paid as a monthly fee like rent, utilities or other monthly rental payments.
Each state has its own laws about pet deposits, pet fees and what landlords are allowed to charge. If your landlord requires either a deposit or a fee, it will be specified in your lease contract or pet agreement.
Although it's not fun paying more money to have your pet live with you, it's necessary for both tenants and landlords. Landlords need to protect their properties in case of damage and renters need to prove that they're responsible enough to keep a pet.