by Victoria Cowart
But Communities Should Not Forget About Non-Pet Owners When Crafting Pet Policies
It’s official: We can all coexist — at least when it comes to pet owners and non-pet owners.
Many rental-housing operators assume that non-pet-owning residents are often uncomfortable with pets and believe a community’s pet policies solely cater to the pet-owning demographic. But just because an individual is not a pet owner doesn’t mean they are not a pet lover, or at the very least, accepting of pets at the communities in which they live.
The recently unveiled Multifamily Pet Policies and Amenities survey, conducted by PetScreening and J Turner Research and featuring the feedback of nearly 23,000 apartment residents, found that non-pet-owning residents are reasonably agreeable with a community’s pet population.
When non-pet-owning residents were asked on a scale from 0 to 10 how they feel about having pets in the apartment community — with 0 being “don’t like them” and 10 being “very comfortable” — the overall response averaged a 6.3 comfortability level, with the highest level of 7.39 coming from student-housing residents. Those ratings have the potential to rise if apartment operators, while clamoring to offer the best possible pet-friendly experience, increase their efforts to ensure non-pet owners are just as comfortable.
Respondents were asked to rate their concerns in order of importance, of which the top three were barking, off-leash pets and, naturally, pet waste. All of these concerns have the potential to be eased with revised policies that remain pet-friendly.
Without limiting the pet population or implementing excessive pet policies that alienate potential residents, here are a few suggestions to help alleviate those primary concerns:
It is most likely that noise violation policies are already included in your lease agreement, but making it part of the pet policy ensures residents are aware of the rule and the possible repercussions if violated. Considering noise violations are oftentimes most frequent when residents are not home, offer residents resources for local dog-walking outlets or other pet services that can make day visits or provide daycare.
It is a common sight, but to many residents — pet owners or otherwise — seeing a dog off its leash can be anxiety-inducing. Some perceive it as a safety issue, while for others it is simply frustrating to see people who think that the rules don’t apply to them. Adding pet spaces and amenities designated for off-leash activities can help alleviate many of these concerns. For communities lacking onsite space, property teams can offer materials referencing the nearest pet parks and other pet-related sanctuaries.
Nobody likes taking a walk and then with one step, your shoe is sole-deep in waste. Simply put, it is bothersome and creates a health concern. Installing and properly stocking waste stations throughout the community is one solution to help curb pet waste. A more advanced solution is to adopt a doggie DNA service, such as Poo Prints, which can trace the pet waste to the offending party.
While apartment operators are making a concerted effort to become as pet-friendly as possible, it should not be at the expense of non-pet owners. Smart pet policies can cater to both demographics and foster harmony among residents while increasing potential revenue. That is a win-win, or for pet lovers, a woof-woof.