It's undeniable—cats and dogs provide a level of companionship like no other. There are some moments when we just don't feel like talking, but we can always count on Fido to greet us with a smile or Fluffy to extend a friendly head bump.
Unfortunately, many apartment communities are not pet-friendly.
But, as we'll illustrate in this article, pet owners are becoming much more common.
If you're a landlord evaluating whether or not to make the switch, this article is for you.
Making Your Multi-Family Property Pet-Friendly
Nearly 37 percent of Americans own dogs and 30 percent own cats, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
Interestingly, the number that directly concerns you is even higher—nearly 72 percent of U.S. renters are pet owners!
Why Become Pet-Friendly?
Obviously, allowing pets on a property is a source of contention for many reasons. Property damage, leftover yard excrement, and resident attacks are just a few of the potential disadvantages to be considered.
However, as we've shown, the sheer number of pet owners should be enough to warrant reconsideration.
Disallow pets and you're turning away more than half of your target market!
Here are some other factors worth considering:
- Pet owners make higher salaries on average (nearly 2/3 make at least $50,000 annually).
- Someone who is responsible for a pet will arguably also be responsible in regards to paying rent.
- Pet owners are less likely to relocate with fewer options on the market.
- You can often charge an additional rental fee for pet ownership.
Another shocking statistic?
An estimated 8 million animals end up in shelters each year, with a surge in owners abandoning their pets due to an inability to find pet-friendly housing. If you have a soft spot for animals and think you could benefit from allowing pets on your multi-family property, here are the steps to take.
How to Become Pet-Friendly
1. Update Your Insurance Policy
Not all insurance policies cover animals. Verify the extent of your liability coverage and ask if any particular breeds are excluded.
2. Update Your Lease Addendum
As a landlord, your lease protects your rights both big and small. By allowing pets on the property you are undoubtedly increasing your risk of property damage. As such, your lease should include crystal clear language as to how such instances will be handled.
Explicitly state protocol for handling the potential necessity of eviction due to problematic pets, what constitutes a problem, and what breeds/sizes of dogs are allowed. Also, consider having your new lease checked over by a lawyer when you're finished. You want it to be ironclad.
3. Ignore Unfounded Assumptions of Pets in Apartments
According to the Humane Society, there is no data to support weight or breed restrictions for dogs in rental housing. Large dogs can live perfectly well in apartment homes.
Further, a Firepaw Inc. study found renters with pets do no greater damage to rental units on average than any other group of renters.
4. Install Clean-Up Stations
No pet-friendly building is complete without appropriate clean-up stations. By providing special trash receptacles and garbage bags to clean up waste, you will keep your property clean (and keep non-pet-owning tenants happy).
5. Create a Dog Park
Dogs need to be walked. If your building isn't located on a walk-friendly intersection, pet owning tenants may feel frustrated.
Setting aside an area to serve as a dog park can alleviate that stress.
It doesn't have to be anything fancy. An enclosed grassy area for dogs to run, play, and do their business in will be fine. Just make sure you post rules and behavior guidelines to help keep pets and their owners safe.
Is Becoming Pet-Friendly Right for You?
While there are many benefits to making your multi-family property pet-friendly, there are also disadvantages that should be considered. The potential for noise pollution, unpleasant odors, and having to deal with chewed-up carpets are realities you will have to face.
Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to pets. But, by allowing furry friends, you're less likely to have vacant units. And that's always a good thing.