by Pat Patterson
Not all of the news has been discouraging during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pet adoption rates have skyrocketed with the nation suddenly having much more time on its hands. Animal shelters across the nation are happily running out of pets and some are temporarily closing with no pets to tend to.
That equates to a strong chance that the pet population will spike to some degree at many apartment communities.
While a variety of studies indicate that approximately 65% of apartment residents are pet owners, that figure could significantly increase by the time normalcy returns. Existing pet owners might have acquired additional pets, as well, which could add to the influx.
Property management teams will undoubtedly have their hands full with an abundance of logistical components when everyday processes resume, but they shouldn’t ignore what could be a vastly different pet landscape within their communities. With many operational procedures soon to be updated, it is the opportune time to institute a refreshed pet policy.
Here are a few things to consider in the refresh:
Increase pet-related supplies
More pets mean more pet waste, so it’s worth reevaluating how many pet bags are needed at pet-waste stations. Pet space might become more constricted, as well. If your office is among the many that give treats to pets when they come through, perhaps it’s time to plan for a more robust supply. More pet goodies and toys might be needed for any pet-related residents, as well.
Expand pet space, options
If your community has the room to expand the pet park or make additional spaces available for pet activity, doing so could reduce the clutter. Naturally, not every community has the luxury of creating more space, but the neighborhood might offer pet-centric areas. If you believe your onsite pet space might become a bit crowded, this is the time to distribute resources to pet owners with information about all the pet hotspots in the neighborhood. Many pet owners would be willing to walk an extra few blocks to give their animals some safe off-leash time.
Track all pets
Long before the pandemic, accurately tracking all pets was a primary challenge for property teams. With a surplus of new pets, including many that might have been obtained while property management teams were primarily working offsite, that mission becomes more complicated. Property managers are counting on residents to self-report all new pets, but unfortunately, not all of them do so. Consider a post-pandemic pet audit of some sort, explaining the need to start from scratch on taking inventory. Tech tools can assist in this cause, as well as platforms that require all residents to formally acknowledge a community’s pet policies and agree to report any current or future pets, include those that visit.
While no one will misconstrue the pandemic as a time of joy, the widespread adoption of pets has served as a pleasant side effect. As such, many apartment communities will have a heightened pet population, and they’ll have to be prepared for it when things return to normal. Creating communities with accountable and responsible pet owners is a direction that all residents can be excited about.