With the latest survey from Apartments.com citing that 75 percent of US renters are unwavering pet owners, it’s not hard to see why so many tenants are looking for pet-friendly properties with value-added services and other perks for pet owners. Not many people are willing to give up their beloved Fido or Fluffy just to live at a certain rental property, and more management companies and owners are feeling the pressure to instill more pet-friendly policies to accommodate today’s growing renter population.

Don’t Bog Potential Renters Down with Too Many Pet Regulations

When you start specifying breeds, weights, types of pets etc. it could easily give the impression that the property is only pet-friendly to certain types of pets, and a discriminatory reputation isn’t what you’re going for. Many people consider animals beyond traditional choices like cats, dogs, and fish to be great pets. Snakes, monkeys, rabbits, ferrets, small pigs, and many other critters are gaining popularity as house pets.

When creating limitations, do a little research or consult an animal advocacy group like the Humane Society for information about realistic pet exclusions. Certainly, using good judgment is essential in the process, but reconsidering the new ‘norm’ when establishing this year’s pet policies may increase your desirability to certain residents with exotic pet tastes.

Encourage Cleanliness with Specified Pet Zones & Poop Fines

Yes, do go ahead and invest in additional dog waste cans and those compostable baggies in 2014 – you’ll likely recoup the expenses in fines for violators. As a whole, property managers see huge reductions in poopy grass and resident complaints concerning pet waste when dog walking zones boast everything a pet owner needs to be responsible. One would assume that pet owners are armed and ready to pick up after their dog, but many people are just too lazy to take that initiative; however, even these folks feel inclined to use the bags and do when it’s convenient (for them of course).

Get these receptacles into this quarter’s budget if you haven’t already, and see you’re pet-friendliness increase tenfold with current tenants and impress potential renters with pets with their presence. You may even want to consider imposing fines for poop violators (and don’t think that residents won’t self-police within the neighborhood) instead of monthly pet fees. Make the ones who don’t follow the rules pay rather than making responsible pet owners cough up the dough.

Consider Pet Screenings & Waiving Pet Deposits

Make every potential pet-owning tenant bring his or her pet to you in-person for a mini-interview. That may sound outlandish, but it’s been shown to be a highly effective approach and is commonly required in high rises and certain condominium complexes. One can learn much more in an actual encounter with an animal and get a better sense of their temperament than through a paper resume. Consider offering discounts or waiving any pet deposits for owners that can provide proof of professional training or obedience schooling. Of course, damages will still apply as with other tenants, but waiving the initial cost can land you a good reputation with pet owners quickly.

Be Clear, Concise, and Courteous

Remember, that when you’re considering pet-friendly policies that pets are considered family to most owners, and no one wants to hear that their kids aren’t welcome. They don’t want to hear that their pet isn’t your idea of a pet or that they will be punished with excessive fees or deposits based upon your bad experience with irresponsible pet owners. Do be clear and concise with potential renters about what policies you implement as you revamp those pet policies for 2014, and welcome in a new era of pet-friendly rentals.