It happens time and time again, and the reasons given are common: “I didn’t know.” Or: “Nobody told me I couldn’t do this.”
Residents will often move into a community without a pet, but they may adopt one or have a friend or relative visit with a pet. Some may even start a pet-sitting business in their living rooms. On most occasions, they do not notify the community of these new pet-related developments. Naturally, this creates a risk for the community, especially if those pets have a history of barking, running off leash or even violent behavior.
Fortunately, this is a preventable scenario. A slight modification to the pet-application process, requiring all residents, pet owners or not, to sign an electronic pet policy can eliminate the gray area, their excuses and hold residents accountable for any newfound pet activity.
The practice is becoming more prevalent in the multifamily industry, often through the use of a third-party pet screening solution, and the benefits of having all new residents sign-off on a community’s pet policy are numerous.
Whether a resident has pets or has never owned a pet in their lives, they’ll understand the pet-related guidelines at the community. Not only will they know what is expected of them, they’ll also be aware of the policies other pet-owning residents have committed to at the community. Better yet, there will be no ambiguity surrounding the idea that residents must report any new pet-related additions to their apartment home.
When a resident decides to watch another person’s pet, and the dog unexpectedly attacks another animal or person in the community, odds are the victim will file a claim against the community. But if residents sign a pet policy upon first moving in, the property manager will have documented that the residents understand that all pets under their watch are to be registered and that they are responsible for the actions of the pets under their care. Getting the resident on the record at the beginning, could protect the community against costly liability for an unregistered pet.
Non-pet owners considering living at an apartment community might balk at the requirement of agreeing to a pet policy, assuming that the policy doesn’t apply to them. But if pet policy documentation is seamlessly integrated into the digital application process, acknowledging pet policy becomes a streamlined and standard part of the application process for every applicant regardless of pet-status.
When any resident moves into a pet-friendly community, it’s important that they understand the community has established pet policies that apply to ALL residents. Making the pet policy available up front and easy to acknowledge through a standardized application process shows that the property manager is considerate of every resident with and without pets, and — perhaps most valuably — provides an added layer of liability protection for the community.