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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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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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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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Show Me the Pets: Financial Benefits of Being Pet-Friendly

Show Me the Pets: Financial Benefits of Being Pet-Friendly
There are many benefits to multifamily communities being pet-friendly, including happier residents, an improved reputation and more homes available for pets that don’t have one. But the residual effects don’t stop there.  Another major benefit is that it widens the pool of prospective residents. According to Apartments.com, more than 70% of renters own a pet, yet many of them indicated that pet-friendly housing is hard to come by.  In addition to attracting new residents, apartment operators will often experience an increase in renewal rates by becoming pet-friendly. While pet owners tend to stay in an apartment home for an average of 46 months, non-pet owners stay an average of just 18 months, according to the Foundation for Interdisciplinary Research and Education Promoting Animal Welfare. This places an average value of $63,572 on a pet-owning resident, compared to a value of $24,875 on a non-pet owner.  Less vacancy, plus increased renewal rates, equals powerful financial benefits for owners and operators. Consider that a pet-prohibited portfolio of 1,000 apartment homes will have approximately $588,000 in additional turnaround costs and suffer a massive $10.7 million hit to its overall value. By allowing pets to reside in their communities, operators attract and retain residents, which in turn creates new revenue streams.  One way to earn additional revenue from pets could be to have a dog walking service or pet spa that pet-owning residents can use. Another way is by simply charging a small, monthly ‘pet rent’ fee based upon the pet’s track record on top of the tr......
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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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Identifying and Addressing Liability in Apartment Management

Identifying and Addressing Liability in Apartment Management
Property management is a liability-rich endeavor. So much so that the National Apartment Association Education Institute (NAAEI) offers a Certified Apartment Manager (CAM) course, and there is one full module on risk management. It is, in fact, a FIVE-hour module. As with all NAAEI programs, the CAM program is worth your consideration.  The module covers risk management, risk assessments and minimizing risks—financial, physical, liability, environmental, employee and more. The most difficult part of risk management, in my personal (and non-attorney) opinion as a long-term operator, is seeking out and discovering risk—uncovering risks that may be present that we are unaware of that may pose an unusual and unreasonable risk to those who visit or live in our communities. With customers, clients, team members, suppliers and more all vying for our time each day, how do we go out and find risks that we do not know about? And how do we then resolve them, and thereby prevent liabilities from rearing their head—and potentially injuring our valued customers and visitors who we care for each day?  A recent ruling by the North Carolina Supreme Court touches on this concern. Despite the heartache of the underlying incident, in which a child was severely injured by a dog attack at a rental property, the ruling was unanimous in favor of the landlord. In essence, the court ruled that the “landlord can’t be held liable for a child’s injuries caused by a dog owned by tenants because he wasn’t told the animal posed a danger to visitors,”......
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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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