Last modified on November 13th, 2015
By Elizabeth Millar
There are a lot of property management companies that advertise their buildings as “pet-friendly.” But what exactly does that mean? Does the building offer pet socials? Will a building favor the pet owner if there is ever a complaint against their beloved pet? Instead of advertising your building as “pet-friendly” you should let pet owners know that your building is “pet-loving.”
Defining a Pet-Loving Building
When a building is pet-friendly it will often have a strict set of rules involving pets. This list could include:
- Pet breed or weight restrictions
- Additional pet rent policies
- Pet security deposits
- Limitation on the type of animal that can be kept in the building
- Limitation on the number of pets per residence
After quickly glancing through the above list, suddenly the “pet-friendly” building doesn’t seem all that friendly. But where did the property manager go wrong? It all started with not letting residents know that the building’s management actually loves pets. To further illustrate the importance of this point, here’s an all too common story of pet owner vs. annoyed neighbor.
The Tale of Pet Owner vs. Annoyed Neighbor in a “Pet-Friendly” Building
When you own a pet you tend to think of him or her as your world. You buy toys, take them to the vet for regular health check-ups, and put-up with their bad habits just as a parent puts up with a child’s occasional temper tantrum. However, when you don’t own a pet you tend to be less inclined to forgive and forget.
A “pet-friendly” building has to accommodate the needs of both pet owners and other non-pet-owning residents. This means that when a pet owner is playing with his or her dog and the dog begins to happily bark indoors (as is the case when a pup plays fetch), the building has to decide if they will side with the neighbor who complains about the noise or the pet owner who is playing. This type of conflict can occur when you try to answer the following questions:
- Should leashed pets be allowed on the roof deck?
- Should owners have to pay a non-refundable deposit for their pet?
- Should pets be allowed in the common areas?
Answering these types of questions is a hard task when you are trying to appeal to two types of residents. By advertising your building as “pet-loving” you can attract residents who have pets, as well as residents who don’t have pets but are understanding of their unique set of needs.
Transitioning to a Pet-Loving Building in 3 Easy Steps
Transitioning from pet-friendly to pet-loving can be accomplished in three easy steps.
- Make it easier for owners to bring pets to your building. Refundable security deposits for pets is a sure-fire way to protect your building’s assets, while simultaneously attracting pet owners. If a pet does damage to the unit or the common areas, then you will have the extra funds needed to make repairs; and if the pet doesn’t damage any areas, then the owner will be happy to receive their full deposit upon move-out.
- Host resident and pet socials. One of the best ways to avoid conflicts between pet owners and non-owners, is to host social events that encourage co-mingling. People who love pets, but who don’t own one, are more inclined to forgive their infractions if they actually know the pet. For example, meet Blake the 25 pound beagle who likes to howl for five minutes after his owner leaves the condo. Now, meet Jill the next door neighbor who is not exactly thrilled about the howling. Introduce a friendly pet-social, and suddenly Jill can meet Blake, talk to the owner in a friendly environment, and learn that all she has to do is say, “Blake quit it,” and he will stop howling.
- Prominently display residents’ pets on social media and your building’s website. When you actively promote your building’s pets on your website, blog, and social media accounts you are letting future residents know that your building loves and takes care of its pets. From pictures to videos to pet-friendly contests, you can easily create an environment that is pet-loving, while simultaneously attracting like-minded future residents to your building.
With these tips in mind, you can all too easily transform your building from pet-friendly to pet-loving. The result will be a building filled with residents who love pets, understand their needs, and can exist in harmony whether or not they currently own a pet.
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