by Vince Wong
Loud neighbors. Slow maintenance. Skyrocketing rents.
All are frequently cited by apartment residents as reasons for having to move. Well, add pets to the list. And we’re not referring to the pets of other residents.
Soon-to-be-released data from the Pet-Inclusive Housing Initiative, a research and resource development initiative that promotes access to the joy of pets, reveals that nearly one in four apartment residents say their pet has been a reason for needing to move. The 24% figure translates to approximately 5.5 million renting households that have been displaced or voluntarily sought a new home as a result of their pet.
More than likely, many of those relocating residents landed at rental properties with less-restrictive pet policies. That scenario qualifies as a win for the more pet-friendly community, which generates more leases by making their homes available to a wider segment of renters. The restrictive community, meanwhile, often loses would-be residents who move along to make things more comfortable for their pets.
Fortunately, the latter segment of properties can make pet-policy adjustments to appeal to a wider array of pet-owning residents. Many of the adjustments are simple and don’t require a vast overhaul of existing policies. Here are a few of our oft-cited recommendations, each of which has the potential to attract a new subset of renters:
Increase pet limits: Many communities restrict homes to a single pet. Renters with two cats, two dogs—or one of each—will immediately move on to the next property. Consider reasonably expanding your pet limits, making sure to use any local jurisdictions as a guidepost.
Ease weight or breed restrictions—or both: Apartment communities often disallow pets over 45 pounds, although no concrete reasons support the policy, which has become particularly outdated. Many more arguments support the elimination of size and weight restrictions. Reducing breed restrictions can be a touchier subject but can work effectively when done responsibly.
Increase pet amenities and services: Pet-friendly communities sometimes have an onsite pet park or dog run, but it’s not always feasible with space constraints. Those properties can remain pet friendly by informing residents of the nearest pet spaces. They also can offer onsite pet services, such as a mobile groomer that periodically visits the property.
Renters move for a variety of reasons. Pets shouldn’t be one of them. By making your communities increasingly attractive to pet owners, you can avoid being part of the 24% figure of relocating residents and become one of the places where those residents frequently land.