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Value Over Risk: Increase Revenue By Evaluating Pets on an Individual Basis

Value Over Risk: Increase Revenue By Evaluating Pets on an Individual Basis
As a property manager, it’s only natural to think of things in terms of risk. Whether it's the new diving board at the resort-style pool, the transition to a keyless entry system or a modification to the types of pets allowed at the community, you can bet the associated risks don’t easily evade the property manager’s mind. But while considering risk is part of the property management ecosystem, sometimes a modified approach can yield better results. For instance, viewing pets on the basis of value rather than risk can serve the dual purpose of generating revenue while enhancing the resident experience. Tech advancements have made it possible to evaluate each pet with a household-related risk score based on its individual behavior history and that of its owner, as pet owners sometimes play a significant part of the pet-risk problem in housing. The risk score creates a much more sophisticated way to determine which pets can be allowed at the property. Rather than restrict based upon breed, weight or any other preexisting characteristic, communities can establish a value-benefit analysis of the pet based upon its all-encompassing individual risk assessment. Here are some ways this can benefit onsite teams:  Sliding-scale pet rent The riskier pet scores on the risk-scale, the higher premium for it to live at the community. Low-risk pets receive benefits in the other direction in the form of baseline pet rent. This is not only a plausible concept—it is already practiced at numerous communities across the nation. Revenue management teams have cr......
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Fair Housing from A to Z

We are taking the alphabet, letter by letter, so perhaps you can do things a little bit better To make your community open to all, and not take an unexpected fair housing fall! And, because Fair Housing covers a lot, we’ve created a resource to print out on the spot!     A is for Animals, and you can say no To my dog, cat, or birdie, unless I can show That this critter is truly needed by me To manage better with my disability. Then dog, cat or birdie is not a pet, So accepting my assistance animal is a wise bet.   B is for Boa, as in the large snake, So that you understand that you might have to take, This reptile, or the monkey or even the horse (The latter is a miniature one, of course), Because these can be assistance animals, too. And when appropriate they move in with you.   C is for Children, they will live with you, Unless your residents are older – 55 to 62. Be careful how you restrict them with your community rules, Since perhaps except for your gyms, your spas and your pools, Your policies should reflect the behaviors you desire, From both the young and those with ages much higher.   D is for Damages, and oh, what the cost, If yours is the legal position that’s lost. From punitive damages to penalties civil, The amount you might pay could make you snivel. Communities have lost millions in some of their cases, Where fair housing violations have been the basis.   E is for Everyone, the messa......
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Not All “Equal” Animals are Truly Equal

The gap between animal lovers and non-animal lovers can be as difficult to bridge as many of the differences between our two major political parties. But just as the issues that divide our nation have nuances, so do the pro- and anti-animal advocates in the multifamily industry. Some of us can remember the day when apartment owners could hold the line on pets. Markets were strong and the bar could be raised to preclude all un-caged pets to avoid all the issues pets can create. But markets became soft and the need to take pets became commonplace and market driven. Now demand is stronger and some operators would like to return to the “no pets allowed” days. But even if the markets will support that policy, not all pets are equal. No, pets, per se, are not a protected class. However, “assistance animals” must be allowed as a “reasonable accommodation” under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Fair Housing Act.  This probably trumps reasonable weight limits as well. The question as to whether an “assistance animal” qualifies comes down to “whether or not the animal performs the disability-related assistance or provides the disability-related benefit needed by the person with the disability”. For an excellent discussion of this topic, see Jennifer L. Owen’s feature in Briefcase in the February 2012 issue of Rooflines.  The fair-housing laws can be a minefield and it is important that, at a minimum, we provide whoever is responsible for compliance in our organizations with ample......
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