Pet Policies

Study: Apartment Residents Not Keen on Restrictions, Believe in Consequences

    Conventional wisdom might suggest that pet owners and not-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 repeated off-leash instances. It also factors in pet misbehavior, such as incessant barking and aggressive behavior. Whether a pet owner or otherwise, only 14% of residents do not support charging higher pets fees and pet rents based upon these factors.

    The wide-ranging study also explored the rise in pet ownership in 2020 and the idea that non-pet owners are largely accepting of pets on a property—although not without their complaints. The study also dives into pet amenity preferences, the frequency of pet sitting and actionable insights for property teams based upon the resident feedback.

    When standardizing pet policies to reflect the sentiments of the 2021 renter, apartment operators should forgo blanket restrictions and evaluate cases on an individual basis. This does not mean that all pets will be welcomed regardless of extenuating factors, just that they won’t be denied based upon preexisting characteristics and predetermined restrictions. It’s a model that’s slowly working its way into the multifamily landscape and has become supported by resident feedback.