Pet Policies

Assessing the Housing-Related Risk of a Pet Owner

    The perfect pet resident exists but can be difficult to find

    The perfect pet resident properly reports their pets, picks up after them, has them appropriately vaccinated and complies with a rental property’s pet restrictions. They have trained, well-behaved animals and carry pet insurance.

    But not everyone is perfect.

    While the 100 percent ideal pet owner might be elusive, it can be ambiguous to determine which owners fall into the “very good” category. There is very little general data available to weigh the specific impact that each variable has on the bottom line.

    Fortunately, having a pet and pet owner database created from more than one million rental homes nationwide, we were able to do some internal data digging at PetScreening to find out which pet residents are the lowest risk to your rental home. Here are a few individual factors to consider:

    Unvaccinated pets or pets with expired vaccinations: Our data indicates that 5 percent of all resident-owned animals are unvaccinated, although the percentage climbs to 10 when assessing cats only. [CLICK TO TWEET] Some cat owners believe an indoor cat doesn’t need to be vaccinated. Now imagine if that unvaccinated cat sneaks out of their home or perhaps bites a visiting child while being handled. Now you have an unvaccinated pet bite on your hands. In addition, 20 percent of resident-owned pets have expired vaccinations.

    Spayed/neutered animals: Data analysis discovered that 20 percent of all resident-owned animals aren’t spayed or neutered. That variable is even more pronounced among younger animals, as the percentage climbs to 42 for those under the age of 2. This encompasses 21 percent of the pet population at rental communities. While today’s research indicates that a pet shouldn’t be spayed or neutered until the age of 1, it should still occur before the age of 2. For pets over the age of 2, the percentage of those not spayed or neutered drops to 11.  

    Do large breeds equal more problems? It is a popular conception that the bigger the dog, the greater the risk. But no hard data supports that claim, and apartment operator Camden recently dropped its 60-pound weight restriction for pets. The company reportedly discovered that pets over 60 pounds produced no greater concerns than pets of smaller sizes and generated very few resident complaints.

    Many additional factors exist when assessing the housing-related risk of a pet and its owner. Certain variables increase risk, such as prior bite incidents, owners not agreeing to keep the pet on a leash and improperly validated assistance animals (i.e. service/emotional support/companion/etc. animals which is a topic all in itself to discuss in a separate blog).

    By concentrating on some of the most prominent factors listed above – and considering lifting certain restrictions in favor of evaluating pet owners and animals on an individual basis – you can help transform all your residents into very good pet owners.

    That’s even if they're not perfect.