The Impact of Emotional Support Animals3 min read
There’s nothing better than coming home to your pet. Seeing their happy faces and tails wag when you walk in melts away so much stress. Some animals go above and beyond when it comes to handling their owner’s stress.
According to data collected from PERQ, 1 in 3 renters nationally have a pet, and when broken down by region, it is similar across the board. This means that one-third of renters will need a community that supports their pets and provides amenities geared toward them too. While some of these might just be regular pets, an increasing number are coming in with a very important job, emotional support.
Emotional support animals do exactly what the name suggests, provide emotional support similar to how service animals provide physical and emergency support for their owners. A resident could have depression, anxiety, PTSD, or some other mental health issue.
Why does this topic matter to property managers? The Human Animal Bond Institute found that pet friendly units are easier and faster to fill by over 80%. They also found that pets make the community better because they are better neighbors. Pet owners typically have less formal complaints against them than non-pet owners.
1 in 5 adult Americans struggle with a mental health issue in their life, with Millennials and Gen Z having higher rates of depression and anxiety than any other generation. Emotional support animals give them the help they need by giving them a routine, a living thing to care for, and a living thing that shows love and affection back.
Heather Blume, CAS, Speaker, Trainer, Consultant & Author of Behind the Leasing Desk said “part of the way we [property managers] are approaching ESA’s are because we have been mislead by others…when we get jaded and we carry that with us we create a whole lot of hostility. We live in a time where there is a whole lot of hostility and home is the one place you should feel safe.”
There always will be the handful of people who try to abuse a system but the data shows that it is not a significant percentage. On top of that, property damages are produced by very few animals and when there is damage done, the cost of pet rent or pet fees is usually much more than the cost of any damage done.
Animals make communities more friendly and feel more like home. Data shows they are great for business and a positive force in the communities that are pet friendly. A huge part of making your property feel more inclusive of emotional support animals starts with your company culture.
Many residents feel that their communities just tolerate having their emotional support animals. Creating a culture of acceptance over tolerance will make these owners and their pets more comfortable and more likely to sign a lease. Emotional support animals are your residents too. Your community is their home too.