No Pets Allowed? Sorry, that’s often not an option anymore. In fact, it has flipped, to the point that those owning multifamily properties are going out of their way to curry favor with those owning furry friends.
It’s easy to see why. While in 1988 just over half of U.S. households served as home to pets, that number had risen to 65 percent by 2016, and has since climbed even further, to 68 percent. Fully 66 percent of those who rent are pet owners, in large part because younger generations are so pet-oriented. Members of Generations X and Y account for 10 percent of the nation’s pet owners. And overall there are some 83 million dogs and 95.5 million cats in our country.
So yes, multifamily owners have taken heed, and made their places more welcoming to pets. They have done so by doing the following:
Creating open spaces: Pets, especially dogs, need to get out and stretch their paws, so it is incumbent upon multifamily property owners to have pet parks/spaces. If it’s grassy, all the better. Ditto if it’s fenced in, and trash bags are provided to clean up after your pooch. MZ Capital Partners, for instance, installs dog “bark parks” at all its apartment communities. Some properties also feature indoor facilities to protect owner and pet from the elements in the winter time.
Offering access to pet sitting: Maybe that means finding a volunteer within the community. Maybe that involves contracting with an outside business, or setting up a database with residents. The more convenient, the better. Because residents are forever looking for such services when they’re at work or away for the weekend.
Making good grooming possible: Salons/spas for pets, whether self-service or staffed, benefit the owners of the pet and property alike — the latter by at least theoretically limiting the amount of dirt and hair that might accumulate throughout the community, the former by helping their pets look their best.
Scheduling social occasions: Could be happy hours — or, as one website called them, “yappy hours.” Could be a pool party or the observance of a holiday. Whatever the case, pets normally like to mingle as much as their owners.
Getting the word out: As is often the case, marketing is everything in this realm — circulating the news that yes, your multifamily property not only accepts pets, but has gone to great lengths to accommodate them. That means doing one’s due diligence when it comes to SEO, as well as listing the pet amenities on the property’s website and social media sites.
In 2015, Trulia.com ranked the 25 largest rental markets in terms of pet-friendliness — i.e., the number of rental properties that allow pets, the affordability of pet fees and the number of services — and concluded that San Francisco was No. 1, followed by Seattle, Denver, Oakland, Portland and Chicago. Dallas had the highest percentage of rental properties that permitted pets, and San Diego the greatest concentration of pet stores.
The only conclusion that can be drawn is that pets will remain central to the decisions renters make about where to live. And that multifamily property owners will have to continue to adjust accordingly.