by McKenzie Towns
Maintaining a clean apartment community is a joint effort. Some responsibilities, like trash clean up and various maintenance needs, belong to onsite team members, while other responsibilities fall on the residents’ shoulders – notably picking up pet waste.
Pet owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pet, but oftentimes that doesn’t happen. According to internal data, 40% of pet owners don’t pick up after their pets. Disposing of pet waste properly is imperative to the well being of an entire community because waste is a dangerous pollutant that’s incredibly harmful to the environment, people and pets.
Although the health of a community is of the utmost importance, maintaining curb appeal is also crucial. Pristine curb appeal leads to both revenue growth and increased asset value.
With more people opting to live in pet friendly apartment communities and choosing to become pet owners, a larger number of operators are now rethinking outdated pet policies and allowing pets onsite. But with that good news does come one downside – unscooped pet waste throughout the property.
While steps like imposing fines to irresponsible pet owners and providing designated areas with well stocked pet waste stations may encourage owners to pick up after their pets, unscooped waste remains an issue.
The ultimate goal is not to simply encourage pet owners to be more responsible when it comes to picking up their pets’ waste, it is to eliminate the problem completely. Failure to adequately address pet waste will eventually deter customers from signing a lease and moving in, leading to a reduced NOI.
Allowing pets onsite opens up a broader range of prospective residents and more opportunities to generate ancillary income. But by not fixing the unscooped pet waste nuisance plaguing communities industry wide, those opportunities will be in vain as curb appeal diminishes.
Operators must make greater steps to mitigate unscooped pet waste and prioritize how to best manage the problem with a holistic approach. Policy-based solutions don’t often yield the results operators are looking for as community policies don’t necessarily hold pet owners accountable. In recent years, major benefits have been found by utilizing DNA forensic testing of pet waste left behind and imposing fines on the residents who are leaving unscooped pet waste.
Operators utilizing a DNA forensic testing solution for pet waste have reported a 95% reduction in unscooped pet waste. These clients, in turn, report increased satisfaction among residents and fewer online complaints. Dog waste can be traced back to the pet owners who are then fined, and less inclined to make the same mistake when there are financial consequences. After all, DNA doesn’t lie.
In addition to the health and environmental benefits of ensuring pet waste is picked up and providing a proactive approach, biotechnology services drastically improve curb appeal, which is a proven way to boost occupancy.
With a more aesthetically pleasing property and higher occupancy rates, taking a proactive approach to combating the pet waste problem is invaluable to the bottom line. It not only provides a cleaner, healthier environment to live in, but it attracts long-term residents. Excellent curb appeal adds tremendous value to assets and leads to more satisfied residents who are more likely to stay. Sustaining maximum occupancy, increasing revenue and maximizing asset value are primary goals of any operator. Those objectives can be accomplished while simultaneously keeping residents, their pets and the environment healthy.