by Mike Shytle
Many apartment operators have worked diligently to improve their pet-friendliness levels. And if pet friendliness wasn’t already a primary focus, it definitely should be now.
New data indicates that the well-documented spike in pet adoption during the pandemic has made an impact in the apartment world. A recent Pet Policies and Amenities Survey, featuring more than 22,000 apartment and student-housing renters, indicated that 26% of the pet-owning residents acquired a pet during the pandemic. The percentage climbs to 39% when factoring student renters only.
The study, compiled by PetScreening in conjunction with J Turner Research, also found that 20% of non-pet owners plan to get one in 2021. Pet-friendliness was already a deterministic factor for many renters and the number continues to climb. That puts the onus on apartment operators to adjust their pet policies to keep pace with the rising contingent of pet owners and their increased expectations.
While many operators have already adjusted policies with the modern-day pet owner in mind, here are some recommended modifications that will boost a community’s level of pet friendliness:
Increase pet amenities and services
Many new developments are incorporating dog runs, pet-wash stations and pet spas into the blueprint. But not all communities have that luxury and many don’t have an abundance of space that can be converted to large-scale pet parks. Those communities can still exhibit pet-friendliness by hosting pet contests, providing literature detailing the closest pet parks and vets in the area, and by offering pet concierge services through third parties.
Reconsider limits and restrictions
The newly adopted pets come in a variety of breeds and sizes. Weight and breed restrictions immediately eliminate many of these pets from living at these apartment communities. We recommend researching ways to ease the restrictions in a responsible manner and determine if the approach works for your community. Additionally, many communities limit the number of pets allowed per home. Rather than assessing blanket limits, teams should evaluate pet fees vs. pets per home and tier their pet-related fees based upon risk. It’s always advisable to check any state or local jurisdictions pertaining to pet limits and fee thresholds, as well.
Properly track all pets
The influx of new pets is a positive development for rental properties, but it can be a bit overwhelming if the new arrivals aren’t accounted for. Consider implementing a system that helps properly track all pets within the property and prevents unaccounted pets from slipping through the system. Pet-friendliness extends to non-pet owners, as well, in that any visiting pets or fostering activities at the property should be proactively reported, documented and be up to date on required vaccinations.
Pet ownership is on the rise, and the pet population at rental properties is following suit. Apartment operators who adjust with the times will offer the most compelling communities when pet owners seek a new home.