Since more than 70 percent of renters own pets, creating a pet-friendly property can really pay off. Simply allowing pets may help you compete in a crowded rental market, but to truly stand out as the most desirable pet-friendly property in your market, you’ll need to focus on creating an outstanding experience for pet owners. Once you earn their loyalty, you’ll benefit from increased word of mouth and decreased turnover.
Although there are pros and cons to managing pet-friendly properties, if you decide to take the leap and open up your doors to pets, there are things you can do to delight your renters that go beyond merely letting their furry friends move in.
Here are some ideas on how to make your property’s common grounds truly pet-friendly:
- Prepare your common areas: When it comes to pets, especially dogs and cats, it can pay – literally – to revamp common areas and outdoor areas so that they too are pet-friendly. Making outdoor areas pet-friendly can lead to fewer accidents within your units, thereby incurring fewer maintenance costs.
- Create a dog park: Dog parks are fenced public areas where animals can roam leash-free. If you have unused space on your property, consider fencing part of it off to create a little dog park. It’s an excellent way for dogs to burn energy and for your residents to mingle.
- Install pet waste stations: Bag dispensers and waste receptacles in pet-friendly public areas make it easy for owners to clean up after their pets. Let all pet owners know that they are expected to keep public areas on your property clean and free of pet waste — pet owners and non-owners alike will appreciate your emphasis on avoiding this public nuisance.
- Review your pet policies: To prevent unpleasant surprises for both you and your residents, it’s best to clearly spell out your pet policies, including the pet screening process. Be clear on which pets are allowed to live in the unit and which (if any) are not, and make residents aware of any processes they must follow if they acquire a new pet after move-in. Also, be sure to consider how you will handle any scenarios caused by pets’ behavioral issues. Whether a resident complains about their neighbor’s dog barking or a pet on the property displays aggressive tendencies, have a plan for handling pet-related issues so that you and your staff are prepared.
- Pay attention to the little things: Things as simple as putting water bowls out in common areas for thirsty pups and keeping a jar of dog and/or cat treats at the front desk can go a long way. You can also work with area veterinarians and pet stores to see if you can secure discounts or special promotions for your residents with animals. Even honoring a “pet of the month” in the front office, or sending out a special newsletter to tenants with pets about tips and best care practices can really work in satisfying and retaining your current tenants.
It’s no secret that AppFolio is a pet-friendly culture, so this topic is near and dear to our hearts. If you’re already a pet-friendly property, why not go all-in?
You can drastically increase your applicant pool, improve your bottom line and, if you do it right, establish your property as the most desired pet-friendly location in town.