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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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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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Talk Data to Me: Using Key Metrics to Improve Pet Processes

Talk Data to Me: Using Key Metrics to Improve Pet Processes
The antiquated pet policies of previous decades can be forgiven. After all, apartment operators didn’t always have a bevy of data at their fingertips to help steer them toward more intuitive property procedures.  But that’s no longer an excuse, as newfound pet data has made a compelling case for operators to overhaul their outdated, antediluvian policies in favor of much more pet-friendly measures.  Various operators at the Talk Data to Me: Pet Research to Improve NOI session at Apartmentalize 2021 discussed ways they’ve leveraged pet data to create the most pet-friendly, pet-responsible experience at their communities. Moderator John Bradford, founder and chief executive officer of PetScreening, relayed an abundance of pet metrics that underscored the reasons why it makes sense for operators to modernize their policies. For instance, the Pet-Inclusive Housing Initiative report by Michelson Found Animals and the Human Animal Bond Research Institute indicates that residents stay 21% longer in pet-friendly housing. Additionally, 83% of apartment owners say pet-friendly vacancies fill faster.  “When we see data like this, it’s our residents guiding us toward what to do,” said Angie Lombardi, vice president of marketing for The Franklin Johnston Group.  The data also shows that pet ownership isn’t going to taper anytime soon. According to the Multifamily Pet Policies and Amenities Survey released earlier this year by PetScreening and J. Turner Research, 26% of residents said they acquired a pet during the pandemic and 19% of non-pet owning residents planned to get one in 2021. As pet ownership continues to increase, many communit......
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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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Pet Concerns Focus on Bad Owners, Not Pets

Pet Concerns Focus on Bad Owners, Not Pets
When the debate about whether or not to allow pets in multifamily communities gets underway, a number of concerns come up. But they don’t rank the way one would think. According to the latest Multifamily Pet Policies and Amenities survey, conducted by PetScreening in partnership with J. Turner Research, the top pet-related concerns have very little to do with the pet itself, and more to do with pet owners. Nearly 23,000 participants were surveyed, and the top concerns of non-pet owners are ones that fall largely within the owners’ control. When non-pet owners were asked what their top three pet-related concerns are, it wasn’t fear, aggression or biting that topped the list. It was nuisance issues such as pet waste, excessive barking and unleashed dogs that perturb them the most. On top of the list is pet waste, with 84% of respondents saying it’s their highest concern regarding pets being permitted onsite. Barking followed at 62%, and 37% cited off-leash pets as a major concern. When it comes to biting, only 12% of respondents listed it as a concern of theirs.  Considering what the top pet concerns are, it’s no surprise that the most desired pet amenities are features that help alleviate the concerns echoed by non-pet owners. A sizable 65% of pet owners and residents planning to get a pet within the next year said that having convenient pet waste stations is most important to them. A close second on the list, mentioned by 64% of current pet owners and those pla......
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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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The Current State of Assistance Animal Accommodation Requests

The Current State of Assistance Animal Accommodation Requests
Rental housing providers throughout the country often struggle to handle requests from residents and prospective renters to accommodate assistance animals. This is a contentious — and potentially litigious — issue, and the number of complaints filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) alleging discrimination in the evaluation of these requests is increasing significantly. To help rental housing providers understand the accommodation request landscape around them, PetScreening publishes quarterly reports summarizing the results of its ongoing evaluation of these requests. The latest report is based upon a subset of more than 75,000 accommodation requests submitted to PetScreening from across the nation between second-quarter 2017 and first-quarter 2021.  Among the findings:  41.3% of the reasonable accommodation requests submitted for a formal legal review achieved a "recommended" determination. 36.2% of requesters started, but did not submit, a reasonable accommodation request for a formal legal review.  More than 93% of accommodation requests involve support animals, and just less than 7% involve service animals. Dogs account for 82.4% of the accommodation requests. Cats account for 16.6% and other animals – including rabbits, guinea pigs and fancy rats – for 1%. Pit bulls are the dog breed most commonly involved in an accommodation request, followed by mixed breeds, Labrador retrievers, German shepherds and Chihuahuas. Moving beyond the specific data, it's important for apartment operators to keep a few things in mind. To start with the obvious: there are many residents with legitimate disabilities and disability-related needs for assistance animals and reasonable accommodation(s) should be made......
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Study: Apartment Residents Not Keen on Restrictions, Believe in Consequences

Study: Apartment Residents Not Keen on Restrictions, Believe in Consequences
Conventional wisdom might suggest that pet owners and non-pet owners are divided on certain issues in the apartment world. But according to recently released survey results, they tend to agree on several key pet-related issues.  To a large degree, neither group is exceedingly passionate about instituting pet restrictions at rental properties. Both, however, agree that irresponsible pet ownership and pet misbehavior should carry consequences. That’s according to the Pet Policies and Amenities in Multifamily report, released earlier this year by PetScreening and J Turner Research.  Certainly, anecdotal examples exist when non-pet owners exhibit frustration with the pet-owning demographic, and the study examines the top complaints from pet-free residents. But that sentiment doesn’t necessarily expand into broad-scale issues. According to the survey, which features the feedback of more than 22,000 apartment renters, 53% are against breed restrictions, while 24% are pro-restriction and 23% are indifferent. The numbers are similar for weight restrictions, with 56% against them, 20% for them and 24% in the “don’t care” category.  Viewed from more of a big-picture perspective, about one in four residents support breed restrictions while one in five are in favor of weight restrictions. When pairing these non-majority, lower-than-expected percentages with the idea that most renters are in support of charging more for irresponsible pet ownership, it becomes increasingly apparent that many current pet policies could use a modern-day refresh. Survey data indicates that an overwhelming 71% of residents support charging higher pet fees for irresponsible pet ownership. This includes failure to pick up after pets and ......
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Pet Owners and Non-Pet Owners Agree: Pets Are Part of The Community

Pet Owners and Non-Pet Owners Agree: Pets Are Part of The Community
But Communities Should Not Forget About Non-Pet Owners When Crafting Pet Policies  It’s official: We can all coexist -- at least when it comes to pet owners and non-pet owners.  Many rental-housing operators assume that non-pet-owning residents are often uncomfortable with pets and believe a community’s pet policies solely cater to the pet-owning demographic. But just because an individual is not a pet owner doesn’t mean they are not a pet lover, or at the very least, accepting of pets at the communities in which they live.  The recently unveiled Multifamily Pet Policies and Amenities survey, conducted by PetScreening and J Turner Research and featuring the feedback of nearly 23,000 apartment residents, found that non-pet-owning residents are reasonably agreeable with a community’s pet population. When non-pet-owning residents were asked on a scale from 0 to 10 how they feel about having pets in the apartment community -- with 0 being “don’t like them” and 10 being “very comfortable” -- the overall response averaged a 6.3 comfortability level, with the highest level of 7.39 coming from student-housing residents. Those ratings have the potential to rise if apartment operators, while clamoring to offer the best possible pet-friendly experience, increase their efforts to ensure non-pet owners are just as comfortable.  Respondents were asked to rate their concerns in order of importance, of which the top three were barking, off-leash pets and, naturally, pet waste. All of these concerns have the potential to be eased with revised policies that remain pet-friendly. Without limiting the pet population or imp......
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