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Irresponsible Pet Owner Behavior is Unpopular Among All Residents… And Pets

Irresponsible Pet Owner Behavior is Unpopular Among All Residents… And Pets
It isn’t only non-pet owners who can be put off by irresponsible pet owner behavior. According to a multifamily survey conducted by PetScreening and J. Turner Research of nearly 23,000 apartment residents, more than half of respondents support the idea that irresponsible pet owners should be charged more in pet-related fees. Pet owners are liable for any damage or harm caused by their pets. And while there are multiple offenses that can land an irresponsible pet owner in hot water, a few commonly prevalent misdeeds -- including excessive barking, off-leash pets and pet waste -- are generally easier to pinpoint and penalize the culprit for.  But how do you keep track of these irresponsible owners and what types of fees or penalties can be assessed for the bad behavior that can be off-putting to fellow residents? While onsite teams should not go around accusing pet owners of irresponsible behavior and imposing random penalties, they can certainly keep an eye out for signs of bad pet owner behavior, such as increased complaints of barking or pet waste that hasn’t been picked up. Including specific rules in the rental agreement is a good place to start when trying to curb irresponsible owner behavior. It’s best to include a comprehensive pet agreement within the lease that clearly discloses the rules and penalties clearly, ensuring that you’re covered all around. When a pet-owning resident is signing the lease agreement, highlight the appropriate sections referring to pet policies and the owner’s responsibilities, along with the protocol to be fol......
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Pets: Love, Marketing and Lifetime Value

Pets: Love, Marketing and Lifetime Value
The time has come for apartment operators to rethink pet policies such as traditional breed and weight restrictions. That was one of the primary points made by expert panelists during the Pets: Love, Marketing and Lifetime Value session at the 2021 Apartment Innovation and Marketing Conference (AIM). The panelists noted that by removing or reducing breed and weight restrictions, apartment operators can attract and retain more residents and boost revenue.  The need to become more pet-friendly stems from the fact that so many renters have pets and consider them indispensable members of their families, panelists noted. There are now more pets in the U.S. than children, according to the American Pet Products Association. In fact, 67% of U.S. households own a pet, and Americans spent approximately $99 billion on pets last year. Furthermore, over the course of the pandemic, an increased number of residents acquired pets.But multifamily pet policies don’t seem to be keeping up with the times, the panelists argued. “With the pandemic, the industry has taken some small steps to change, but we really have an opportunity to step back and figure out some of the paradigms holding us back from being truly pet friendly,” said Melanie Flaherty, senior vice president of marketing for Carmel Partners. “If we rethink pets and how we strategically plan policies, that will impact the bottom line.”  According to the 2021 Pet-Inclusive Housing Initiative (PIHI) report from Michelson Found Animals Foundation and the Human Animal Bond Research Institute, 76% of operators say they’re pet-friendly yet 72% of ......
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Our Pet Policies Are Missing Something

Our Pet Policies Are Missing Something
Call it the hidden variable of an apartment community’s pet population—visiting pets. While community teams have steadily gravitated toward crafting pet policies more reflective of the modern resident, these policies oftentimes omit this crucial component. Whether a resident is pet sitting, pet fostering or simply entertaining guests who bring along pets, the visiting pet is often unaccounted for. But these pets are no different than those that live at the community in that they stay in an apartment home, can leave pet waste around the community and present the same risk for liability.  Additionally, these visiting pets are not accounted for when property managers charge pet rent, and they make it nearly impossible for teams to maintain an accurate pet record for the sake of emergency preparedness.  And according to recent research, visiting pets aren’t merely a rare occurrence. According to the Pet Policies and Amenities survey from PetScreening and J Turner Research, 25% of pet-owning residents said that they or someone they know has provided pet sitting services at their apartment community. And 23% said that they have hosted a guest who doesn’t live at the community and who has brought along a pet. While the numbers are slightly higher among pet-free residents who plan to get a pet, and lower for non-pet owners who don’t plan to get one, the primary takeaway is that approximately one-in-four residents are closely associated with pet sitting or visiting pets.  As such, onsite teams should factor this into their pet policies to avoid the prosp......
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Your Guide to Hosting a Resident Dog Treat Baking Workshop

This guide has everything you need to host a successful treat baking event in your community - from downloadable recipe cards, to links on where to purchase supplies!  Did you know that baking dog treats is quite simple and requires only a few ingredients?! Hosting a resident baking event is a great way to bring the community together in a really fun and productive way (especially as we get closer to the holiday season). So lets get started...     First, a little background on baking dog treats. We love baking our own dog treats because it's a whole lot simpler than baking human cookies, and much more affordable than buying them! Unlike human cookies, dog treats aren't too scientific. Your residents will certainly have to measure out ingredients but it's truly hard to go wrong. Our favorite thing about baking treats is you can very easily modify almost any recipe to add in your dog's favorite foods, like bacon bits or chicken!   The Basics First and foremost, while we love dogs and love baking for them, this should be a humans-only event. To maintain a safe (and not too chaotic), please make sure all messaging for the event indicates that dogs should stay home awaiting their treats. That being said, it's a very family-friendly event so children are certainly welcome. Hosting a baking event does require a bit more space than an average resident event, as each person (or family) will need a baking work station. We recommend utilizing......
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Opening Your Doors to More Pets

Opening Your Doors to More Pets
To be truly pet-friendly, apartment owners and operators should consider reducing or even entirely eliminating their breed and weight restrictions.  That was one of the major takeaways of How Do Your Residents Feel about Pets … and What Does that Mean for Ancillary Revenue?, a presentation by PetScreening CEO and Founder John Bradford during the recent AIM Reinvent digital conference.  To start with, prospects and residents aren't demanding these restrictions. Citing a joint PetScreening-J Turner Research study, Bradford noted only one in four apartment residents supports breed restrictions while just one in five is in favor of weight restrictions. In addition, many insurance companies have removed pet breed restrictions from their general liability policies.  Add it all up, and "it’s clear that old-school pet policies with breed or weight restrictions could benefit from some fine-tuning," Bradford said. "Reconsider your blanket pet-related restrictions." Reviewing individual pets and their owners on a case-by-case basis during the screening process will allow apartment communities to boost revenue and demand because they are opening their doors to more pet owners.  Atlanta-based apartment operator The Management Group has dropped all breed and weight restrictions across its portfolio and seen striking results.  "After this policy change, 80% of their pet-owning residents have renewed their lease," Bradford explained. "While their competitors reject pets based on weight and breed, their communities warmly welcome all pets, attract more applicants, increase resident satisfaction and improve their bottom lines."  To attract and retain pet-owning renters, it's also important to have the right amenities in ......
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Room to Grow: Multifamily Operators Have Opportunities to Become More Pet-Inclusive

Room to Grow: Multifamily Operators Have Opportunities to Become More Pet-Inclusive
Over the past decade or so, the multifamily industry has undeniably become more pet-friendly. Go to industry conferences, and you'll see pet-focused sessions with panelists who have reaped the benefits of relaxing or even eliminating weight and breed restrictions. Visit apartment communities, and you'll likely see an array of amenities – such as fenced dog parks and pet-washing stations – designed to attract and retain pet-owning residents. New data validates these general observations. According to the 2021 Pet-Inclusive Housing Initiative Report, 76% of owner/operators identify their properties as allowing some pets, which reflects a willingness to accommodate pets by a large majority of property owners and operators. But the same report also shows that residents often don't find rental housing as pet-inclusive as they'd like it to be. For example, according to the PIHI report: 72% of surveyed residents say pet-friendly housing is hard to find. 59% say pet-friendly housing is too expensive. 24% say their pet has been a reason for needing to move. 14% have surrendered their pet as a result of their housing situation. Clearly, apartment owners and operators have to be careful and strategic when crafting their pet policies. They have to strike the right balance of welcoming pet-owning residents with  helping non pet-owners feel comfortable, as well as protecting the community’s assets. However, the PIHI report provides a solid general blueprint for how multifamily communities can become more pet inclusive in ways that drive good business results. Among its recommendations for operators: Consider reducing or eliminating dog w......
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If You Have It, They Will Come: Pet Amenities Pet Owners Want

If You Have It, They Will Come: Pet Amenities Pet Owners Want
They say that it’s all in the amenities. However, certain amenities have a more profound impact than others. And while the traditional amenities you would think are important to prospects and residents may still be on their list, it’s the pet-related amenities that are becoming increasingly more of a necessity. According to the 2020 Pet Policies and Amenities in Multifamily report by PetScreening and J Turner Research, pet owners said that where they choose to live is significantly based upon the types of pet amenities that a community offers its residents.  When pet-owning residents, or those intending to get a pet within the next year, were asked on a scale from 0 to 10 how important pet-related amenities are when considering renewing a lease or moving into a community, the average rating was an impressive 7.11 out of 10.  Knowing that pet-related amenities are so important to a resident’s decision when choosing to renew their lease or to a prospect who is considering moving-in, it’s critical that apartment communities have the pet-related features that truly matter to renters.  While many operators might fear that introducing such amenities in their community will be expensive, that isn’t the case with the three most desired pet-related features. The three most-desired pet-related amenities found in the survey, which features the feedback of more than 22,000 apartment residents, were: Pet-waste Stations: These came in at number one with 65% of respondents saying this was a top amenity for them.  A fully stocked waste station will ensure that, oth......
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Is This Assistance Animal Legit?

Is This Assistance Animal Legit?
As more and more communities allow pets onsite, most operators are seeing an uptick in assistance animal accommodation requests. It’s no secret that there are bad actors trying to pass their pets off as assistance animals to circumvent pet fees and restrictions. This is why having a thorough and consistent review process of each accommodation request is paramount. In over 100,000 reasonable accommodations requests already reviewed by PetScreening, nearly 60% were returned to the animal owner as insufficient. In other words, the accommodation request did not meet HUD’s 2020 Assistance Animal Notice guidelines. This is often due to documentation that is missing or contains incomplete information, is lacking specificity, has out-dated documentation and a variety of less common factors.  It’s important to note that when a request is deemed insufficient, that definitely doesn’t always equate to fraud -- although there are a few tell-tale signs to look for when determining the legitimacy of such requests. For instance: If a healthcare provider questions the validity of his/her signature If the date on the supporting documentation appears to have been altered If a name in the supporting documentation appears to have inconsistencies  In the event that you encounter any of these “ifs” or other indicators that seem questionable during your review of an assistance animal request, additional expertise and diligence during the review process is likely warranted. Fraud is a very serious matter and, if suspected, you should navigate this cautiously and carefully. It is well within your rights to seek additional information during the ......
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“Yes, We’re Pet Friendly” ... But Are You Really?

“Yes, We’re Pet Friendly” ... But Are You Really?
Many apartment operators claim that their properties are pet-friendly, but renters often see things differently.  While 76% of operators identify their property as being pet-friendly, a staggering 72% of renters say that pet-friendly housing is hard to find. As these numbers seem to contradict one another, finding the cause of this disconnect is crucial to creating a community that is not just pet-friendly, but also pet-inclusive.  What’s clear is that people love pets. And pet owner or not, many people agree that pets have a place in their communities. A recent survey conducted by Michelson Found Animals and the Human Animal Bond Research Institute found that 92% of renters consider pets to be an important member of the family.  Numerous studies have confirmed that pets provide companionship, joy and an overall improvement to one’s mental health. The human-animal bond provides benefits for people and pets alike, and that is not limited to emotional support animals. According to the survey, 93% of property owners agree that pets are important to families, and 83% of those owners believe they have positive relationships with pet-owning residents. But even with such a universally positive sentiment toward pets, renters indicate that communities that are truly pet-friendly remain hard to come by. And for the small sample size that qualify as genuinely pet-inclusive, 59% of renters say the housing is too expensive to obtain. Furthermore, 24% -- which equates to 5.5 million renters -- have been displaced or forced to move due to owning a pet, while 14%......
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Relocating Renters: Nearly One in Four Have Sought a New Home Due to Their Pet

Relocating Renters: Nearly One in Four Have Sought a New Home Due to Their Pet
Loud neighbors. Slow maintenance. Skyrocketing rents. All are frequently cited by apartment residents as reasons for having to move. Well, add pets to the list. And we’re not referring to the pets of other residents.  Soon-to-be-released data from the Pet-Inclusive Housing Initiative, a research and resource development initiative that promotes access to the joy of pets, reveals that nearly one in four apartment residents say their pet has been a reason for needing to move. The 24% figure translates to approximately 5.5 million renting households that have been displaced or voluntarily sought a new home as a result of their pet. More than likely, many of those relocating residents landed at rental properties with less-restrictive pet policies. That scenario qualifies as a win for the more pet-friendly community, which generates more leases by making their homes available to a wider segment of renters. The restrictive community, meanwhile, often loses would-be residents who move along to make things more comfortable for their pets. Fortunately, the latter segment of properties can make pet-policy adjustments to appeal to a wider array of pet-owning residents. Many of the adjustments are simple and don’t require a vast overhaul of existing policies. Here are a few of our oft-cited recommendations, each of which has the potential to attract a new subset of renters: Increase pet limits: Many communities restrict homes to a single pet. Renters with two cats, two dogs—or one of each—will immediately move on to the next property. Consider reasonably expanding your pet limits, making sure to......
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