Sparkling swimming pools, state of the art fitness centers, and modern clubhouses are all community amenities that can attract potential renters. But, now more than ever, properties that add “pet friendly community” to that list exponentially increase their appeal. According to recent numbers, pet ownership is higher than it has ever been, with 3 out of 4 renters declaring themselves pet owners. With most pet owners considering their fur babies an extension of their family, there is an unmistakable opportunity to reach potential tenants by making your community truly pet friendly.
If your community has not yet taken the leap, there are several reasons why you should. Many in the multifamily industry cite potential property damage and noise as major drawbacks, but the benefits and profitability from inviting pets into your community outweigh the negatives.
Here are a few things to consider when deciding whether or not to promote your community as pet friendly:
- Community Culture– Just like bikers give each other a nod or wave as they pass each other on the road, pet owners share a similar connection and culture. Communities that are pet friendly get to be a part of the club and get all the perks that come with it. It is estimated that American pet owners will spend over $69 billion on their pets this year. “People are fascinated by pets. We act and spend on them as if they were our children,” said NYU sociology professor Colin Jerolmack in an interview with Forbes. “We’ve civilized them to the point that they are no longer a part of wild nature.” Properties that exhibit a welcoming pet culture improve their reputation and positive image in the minds of their residents.
Health Benefits– Pets themselves come with an array of benefits for owners. Research shows that dogs and cats can positively affect human beings physically, mentally and emotionally, such as reducing stress, decreasing a person’s risk of heart attack, and improving peoples’ social skills. The healthier your residents are, the happier your residents are.
Expanded Clientele– Without a pet friendly label, properties can really limit their new tenant potential. Most apartment finder sites have search filters that can immediately take any property that is not pet friendly out of possible matches. Furthermore, there are several sites like that are geared toward pet owners and offer only pet friendly communities as possible matches. By becoming a pet friendly community, property managers immediately expand their tenant possibilities, reach a larger target market and increase profitability.
Maybe you already consider your community pet friendly. You technically allow pets and charge a pet deposit and/or pet rent and have your tenants sign pet addendums in their leases. But, are you truly pet friendly? Do you walk the walk so to speak?
Here are a few tips for improving your pet friendly status:
- Have designated, welcoming areas. Does your community have pet parks or fenced areas with access to drinking water or pet waste bags and disposal bins? Amenities are not just for humans. Ask yourself what kind of amenities your property features to make pets truly feel welcome.
Provide an Experience. Are you providing an experience for pet parents or is your community just a roof over their heads? Pet friendly communities that go above and beyond to make residents AND their pets feel safe, comfortable and welcomed will be more likely to be described as “home” instead of “an apartment.” For example, do you keep dog treats and water bowls in your leasing office or clubhouse for residents to grab when they’re out on a walk with their pets? Do you host special community events for your residents with pets such as a “yappy hour?”
Practice What You Preach. Many communities promote themselves as pet friendly, but you would never see a pet in the leasing office. Many businesses that see the benefits of pets are starting to bring in an office pet themselves. Especially for those in the multifamily industry, what better way to say you are pet friendly than having a furry leasing agent? Your new office pet might be the best leasing agent your office has ever seen!
However you choose to implement your “pet friendly” policies, make sure that your current residents are well informed as well as new clients. It is a possibility that not everyone in your community will be happy about the changes but the benefits can far outweigh the negatives. During the transition time it will help to know which of your residents are not ecstatic as you can plan to put new “fur baby” residents in units that are located away from the “anti-pet” residents.
Pet Friendly is a lifestyle, not just a marketing campaign!