A New Way to Look at Pet Policies
Did you know 1 in 3 renters nationally own a pet according to data collected through PERQ. Did you also know there’s been an increase in the need for emotional support animals? Millennials and Gen Z have higher rates of mental illnesses like depression and anxiety, increasing the need of having an emotional support animal.
Jamin Harkness, EVP at The Management Group, has taken a new look at outdated pet policies. In his chat with Muhammad Yasin last month, he went over the current standard for pet policies and what he’s done to make them more inclusive to renters with pets.
Harkness first looked at breed and weight restrictions. The excuse many properties give is that their insurance won’t cover it. Harkness called their insurance company and found that this wasn’t true at all. It’s nowhere in the insurance policy. But won’t bigger dogs cause more damage?
This isn’t true either. A study done by the Human Animal Bond Institute found that smaller dogs actually caused more property damage than bigger breeds. They tend to chew on the baseboards, walls, and doors more frequently. With all this information, there’s no reason to have these restrictions and alienate a chunk of renters.
Harkness also got rid of pet rent. Controversial but a great move. You might be thinking “he’s losing revenue for no reason”. Harkness actually made up any “lost” revenue from pet rent in lower turnover rates and higher resident retention. He found that 80% of residents with pets renewed their leases. This means higher satisfaction in current residents which will lead to better reviews and more referrals.
Having a pet-friendly community includes creating amenities and events for your furry residents. Harkness has his properties updating their dog parks mulch/landscaping more frequently and has created outdoor pet spaces if a property didn’t already have one.
He also has done events catered to the animals. On national animal-related holidays, the team would leave out treats and bandanas for them. Some properties do a pet of the month feature on their socials and monthly newsletter.
Pet policies that are more inclusive are proven to generate revenue and increase resident retention. It’s time to take another look at your pet policies before your competitors do. You don’t want to alienate 30% of renters because of restrictions and monthly charges.