by Stephen Ursery

Non-profit organizations Michelson Found Animals Foundation and the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) today announced the release of a new Pet-Inclusive Housing Initiative (PIHI) Report, outlining the path to creating more than 8 million new pet-friendly rental homes in the United States. The report shows that rental housing owners and operators can attract and retain more residents by offering pet-inclusive housing and also details the community benefits of doing so.

Among its findings:

o   Residents in pet-friendly housing stay 21% longer than those in non-pet-friendly housing

o   83% of owner/operators say pet-friendly vacancies are filled faster, and 79% say the vacancies are easier to fill

“Michelson Found Animals and HABRI developed this report to provide clear and detailed market-based strategies that benefit all – housing owner/operators, residents, and our beloved pets, who have been so important to us during the pandemic,” said Brett Yates, CEO of Michelson Found Animals. “We look forward to sharing this report to create more pet-inclusive housing for healthier, more connected communities.”  

The report also highlights how restrictions on pets in rental housing present hurdles for prospective renters and current residents. According to the report:

o   72% of residents say pet-friendly housing is hard to find

o   59% of residents say pet-friendly housing is too expensive

o   35% of non-pet-owning residents say they would get a pet if restrictions on their rental housing were lifted

“This report is grounded in data that will spur common-sense changes to increase the availability of pet-inclusive housing,” said Steven Feldman, HABRI president. “Our message to housing providers is that they can do good and capture an economic opportunity by easing restrictions on pets in rental housing communities.”

According to the report, increasing the availability of pet-inclusive housing can help families find the homes they need, provide economic benefits to owners/operators, and help up to 8.2 million animals find new homes over time. The data, collected prior to the pandemic, also shows that 14% of residents have had to surrender a pet due to their housing situation.

Through the implementation of new pet-inclusive policies, rental housing operators can boost their leasing and resident retention efforts while also promoting animal welfare and keeping families and their pets together. Solutions for owner/operators to consider:

●  Attract pet owners by offering a free month of pet rent or waiving pet deposits, and instead rely on regular security deposits to cover minimal damage that pets may cause.

●  Create an easy-to-follow screening process and pet agreement that focuses on well-behaved pets and owners.

●  Formalize the types of pets allowed in the community with a forward-thinking, positive pet policy.

●  Increase the number of pets that can live in a unit from one to two.

●  Coordinate with shelters and pet adoption agencies to organize virtual meetings with pets. 

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