Pet Policies

Beyond Allowing Pets: The Rise of Pet-Centric Amenities

    It’s no secret that apartment operators have boosted their levels of pet-friendliness in recent years in an effort to capture a significant subsection of renters—the pet-owning resident. But being genuinely pet-friendly goes beyond simply allowing pets.

    Resourceful operators, aware that a property’s pet amenities can serve as a deterministic factor as to whether someone decides to sign a lease, have taken note. They are offering pet-centric spaces, services, and features that are transcending the industry’s long-standing and lukewarm approach to pets.

    Here is a look at some of the amenities and services that are making a difference in the rental-housing world, keeping in mind that even properties with limited space and resources can provide pet owners and their furry companions with a high-quality living experience.

    Pet Park—and Don’t Forget the Shade

    The most basic of pet amenities is the most important. A dedicated space within a property for pets to burn off energy is paramount, even if it’s a smaller space. While 65% of respondents in the Pet Policies and Amenities survey by PetScreening and J Turner Research revealed that a pet park is among their top three demands, many residents deem it nearly equally important to have opportunities for shade within the space. Whether it’s organically there in the form of large trees or comes from a structure built within the park, shade helps create a better experience for pets and owners alike, particularly in warmer climates.

    While a park itself doesn’t qualify as cutting-edge on the amenity front, properties can get creative after they’ve taken care of these crucial basic elements. The addition of dog runs, pet washes, water stations, splash pads, and regular upkeep, such as periodic re-mulching, all can add value. Granted, not all communities are blessed with an abundance of space. One option utilized by many communities in this position is to repurpose little-used spaces, such as old sports courts, into pet parks.

    Pet Waste Stations

    The most common pet-related complaint in the apartment world is unattended pet waste. According to the PetScreening and J Turner Research survey, 84% of non-pet-owning residents deemed pet waste among their primary complaints, which ranked ahead of barking and unleashed pets. Yes, residents should be responsible and pick up after their pets, and property teams should regularly encourage it—but they can also help. By placing pet-waste stations throughout the community and keeping them regularly stocked with cleanup bags, waste can be cut down significantly.

    Team With Local Pet Agencies and Services

    Amenities don’t always have to be spaces. Properties can partner with local veterinarians, dog walkers, trainers, groomers, and other concierge-type services that provide options for pet-owning residents. Making these optional services available for residents can make a substantial difference, particularly regarding convenience. For instance, residents won’t have to leave the property if a pet groomer makes periodic visits, and they won’t have to seek out these services on their own.

    Some communities also have partnered with local pet adoption agencies and offered perks to residents who adopt a pet, such as waiving an initial pet deposit or a few months of pet rent. Teaming with any of these services is another way to cater to pet owners and display a pet-friendly, pet-responsible approach.

    Pet Events

    Resident events are often a big hit at a community. So why not host periodic pet events as well?

    Communities can get creative here, with some having hosted pet photo days and a dog swimming pool day on the final day of the pool season. This provides property teams the opportunity to connect with pet-owning residents on a deeper level than they can by simply offering pet treats in the leasing office—which is also a nice touch on a day-to-day basis.

    As rental communities continue to offer better accommodations for furry friends, pet owners have become a more discerning group. As such, the quest to attract them has become more competitive, and properties behind the curve will struggle to attract this substantial and increasingly prominent demographic. Those on the leading edge are experiencing the benefits of more pet-owning residents and lengthier stays.