What does your pet-friendly policy look like? If I had to guess, it’s anything but “friendly”; probably something along the lines of a number of restrictions such as size, weight, height, breed, or age. Rental housing that allows all cats and dogs, regardless of any of these restrictions is extremely rare. Have you considered what this is costing your community and how you can save by adopting a “Pets are Welcome” policy? 72% of renters have pets with the majority being over 25 lb or mixed breeds (source). By allowing all cats and dogs, you would expand your resident pool by almost 40%. According to the APPA, dog owners have a higher than average income; which means they can afford a higher monthly rent if you allow them to bring their pets and likely, they are willing to pay the price (source). You can reduce turnover expense because renters with pets will likely stay based solely on the fact that they don’t want to search for other “Pets are Welcome” community. And the greatest part: changing your policy costs nothing.
I know what you’re thinking. “Obviously all this sounds great, but we have valid reasons for our pet restrictions.” Hopefully I can change your mind. Pet restrictions stem from pervasive misconceptions that have not been substantiated by science or other studies. In fact, several studies have discredited these beliefs. Here are some of the common myths for why communities have certain restrictions and the truths behind them:
Truth: The Humane Society states that neither science nor statistics support policies that discriminate on breed or physical appearance.
Myth: Big dogs will ruin the units.
Truth: Pet renters do no more damage than non-pet renters. Children actually cause more damage to apartment units than pets.
Myth: Renters without pets don’t want to live in a community with pets.
Truth: 75% of renters without pets are fine with living in a community with pets.
Myth: We don’t want to be held responsible for any incidents.
Truth: There is legislation in place to put liability on pet owners and not on property owners.
Change your mind yet? By putting some simple management strategies in place, your new “Pet’s are Welcome” community can still remain a safe and welcoming place to live. Be sure to screen owners and pets, obtain proof of vaccinations and training certifications, set clear expectations with pet owners such as a code of conduct and incident reporting, and strictly enforce any rules and regulations. You can also get creative with services and amenities for your pet-loving residents such as a dog washer, pet sitting, and nail trimming. Certain services can be used not only as an extra revenue opportunity but also to keep your community looking and smelling nice. It’s Im-paws-ible to lose! Happy renting!