this is in Kansas. Suppose that a tenant T signed a one year lease for an apartment that allows pets under the condition that a deposit/fee would be charged, but the person who put together the lease made a mistake and neglected to include the deposit or the fee despite knowing I would be bringing a pet. The lease was signed by T and the apartment manager, and T, accordingly, hasn't been charged for about 6 months.

However, suppose that T received a letter stating that T was in "violation" of the lease because T had not been paying the fee. Apparently someone in the office realized the mistake and is trying to make amends. But it seems that T would not be in violation of anything in the lease as they're aware that T has had a pet and it clearly states T neither owes a deposit nor a monthly fee.

It is their company's policy to charge a pet deposit/fee, but the lease T and the manager signed clearly states they wouldn't charge T anything. Suppose that it was clearly a mistake on the manager's part, but a lease is a lease. Is T obligated to pay a deposit and this monthly fee, or do the terms of the lease as written override their policy, especially given how much time has already passed?

2 Answers 2


According to Kansas renter rights, your landlord cannot charge you for a pet deposit if it wasn't specified in your lease. If by chance, you have already paid your landlord money for your pet, you may be able to recover those charges. If your landlord refuses to reimburse you or continues to insist that you pay a vet fee, you may want to consider getting a tenant lawyer.


Can an apartment charge me a pet deposit/fee despite specifying in the lease that no deposit or fee would be necessary?

No. The terms of a signed lease supersede company's policy that is stated elsewhere. The matter would require a more detailed review if the lease incorporates by reference that specific policy.

The lease is not even voidable by the landlord under the Restatement (Second) of Contracts at §§ 151-153. The landlord's employee knew beforehand that you were bringing a pet. In line with Restatement §154(a), the landlord bore the risk of mistake "by agreement of the parties". By contrast, if imposing amounts to violating a basic assumption that prompted you to enter the lease, the lease might be voidable by you. Although the dispute is about the pet fee and not the lease as a whole, it is obvious that a tenant will not do part with his pet merely because of the landlord's mistake in the lease. In other words, lease and pet might reasonably go hand in hand.

Note that your description is contradictory, though. The premise "I signed a one year lease for an apartment that allows pets under the condition that a deposit/fee would be charged" seems at odds with "the lease we signed clearly states they wouldn't charge me anything". One can infer that your lease was an exception --even if a mistaken one--, but make sure you are unequivocal when phrasing your argument to the landlord or in Small Claims court.

  • Thank you. To clarify, the apartment complex stated that they charge a pet deposit/fee, but the woman who put together the lease made a mistake and didn't include the fee or the deposit, thus I haven't been charged. It's their policy to charge a fee, but due to their incompetence, the lease as written clearly states that even though I have a pet, I didn't owe either a fee or a deposit. The wording is through a series of check marks, (yes) will owe fee, (no) won't owe fee, with the no being checked off, mistakenly. Hope that clarifies.
    – Davies
    Oct 27, 2021 at 22:18
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    @Davies, you almost certainly won't have to pay the fee if you don't want to, but you may find the landlord choosing not to renew your lease after 2 months if you play hardball about it.
    – Tiger Guy
    Oct 28, 2021 at 3:59
  • @TigerGuy "you may find the landlord choosing not to renew your lease". True. But the landlord might also make sure that the renewal does not again exempt the OP from the pet fee. Oct 28, 2021 at 9:22
  • @Davies "The wording is through a series of check marks". I hear you, but note that the checkmark alone is not a disclosure that you have a pet. Unless that detail is reflected elsewhere in the lease, the landlord could allege that you failed to disclose (when entering the lease) that you would bring a pet. Oct 28, 2021 at 9:27
  • Hey, yes the lease clearly states that I have a cat, his name, his age, and his breed. It actually states it twice. The only thing that's maybe uncertain is that under the "memo", the person who did the contract wrote that I'd have to pay half the rent as a non refundable pet deposit. But then, on the same page, it says I don't have to pay anything for either deposit or as a fee. So it's self contradicting, hence my confusion.
    – Davies
    Oct 29, 2021 at 2:25

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