What’s the difference between deposits and fees when it comes to property management? Fees are non-refundable, and deposits are refundable. The biggest complication seems to come with Pet Fees vs. Pet Deposits.
Pet fees are not refundable, pet deposits are. If any part of a deposit is non-refundable, it needs to be spelled out in the lease. Deposits can be partially non-refundable. The confusion happens when a tenant pays a fee, and thinks it’s a deposit.
As a property manager, it’s very important to clarify these things. If we aren’t very clear, it can be problematic. For example, if you collect a pet deposit, and then charge monthly pet rent… you’re going to need to explain what all of that was for because the court could see it as collecting the same thing twice.
The bottom line is knowing that there is a difference between the two terms, and using them correctly at all times will keep you out of trouble.