There are many reasons real estate investors might want to open up their multifamily properties to pet owners.
Perhaps they love animals and are pet owners themselves, and they thus like the idea of offering fellow fur parents affordable and comfortable housing options.
Perhaps they’re aware of how potentially profitable running a pet-friendly property could be.
Rates of pet ownership have been spiking across the United States in the last few years, which means that more and more potential renters are looking for apartments that will welcome their furry friends.
Of course, managing a multifamily property that allows tenants to keep pets is by no means a walk in the park.
Adorable as they are, pets will also make it more challenging to keep your building in good shape.
That’s why it’s important to ensure that your policies and your property itself are adequately prepped to accommodate pet owners before you begin leasing to them.
Try the following essential tips for managing pet-friendly apartments safely and effectively:
Consider Installing Pet-friendly Amenities
Adding a few pet-friendly features to your property is a surefire way to attract pet owners to your doorstep.
Some examples include pet waste stations with poop bags and disposal units, washing stations, and even dedicated play areas.
If your property has a yard, you can simply fence off a small grassy area to make a mini dog park.
You can even put in an order for custom made wholesale dog toys that tenants’ pets can borrow.
Introducing just one or two of these additional amenities sends the message that you welcome pets and are willing to assist pet owners in providing for their needs.
You’re also making it easier for pet owners to help you keep your property safe, clean, and comfortable for all tenants.
If your tenants have the space and resources to keep their pets clean, well-exercised, and happy at all times, you’ll see fewer pet-related problems and incidents down the line.
Pet-proof Your Apartments
There are also plenty of steps you can take to prevent any pet-related damage to the apartments you’ll be renting.
Painting over surfaces with sturdy gloss or semi-gloss paint, for example, will make them easier for tenants to wash.
You may also want to remove carpets and replace old flooring with laminate boards, which are both affordable and highly resistant to scratching and scuffing.
Require a Pet Screening Before Leasing
Before you lease to a pet-owning tenant, it’s imperative that you meet them and their pet in person.
That way, you’ll have the chance to check the pet over for perceptible signs of behavioral problems.
Some dogs, for example, may act aggressively around unfamiliar people and animals, while others may bark incessantly and refuse to stop.
If it’s impossible for a potential tenant to bring their pet over to you before they move in, you should at least ask them to provide you with a photograph.
This lets you confirm their pet’s breed and size and makes it easier for you to keep track of which pets belong to which tenants in your building.
Pet screening sessions are also an apt time for you to discuss the pet-related policies in force on your property.
These might include information about fines, security deposits, additional rent and fees, mechanisms for reporting and processing pet-related complaints, and more.
Setting clear guidelines and expectations for pet owners in your building will improve quality of life for everyone and make property management easier for you and your staff.
No matter how proactive and prepared you try to be about pet-proofing your property, it’s impossible to prevent every single instance of pet-related damage.
Take a calm, laid-back, and overall pragmatic approach to tenants reporting accidents or asking for help.
One of the best things you can do is point them in the direction of helpful resources they can use to resolve pet issues on their own.
This will empower your tenants and hopefully leave you with fewer pet-related concerns to deal with directly.
Some essential contacts to share with your pet-owning tenants may include the following:
- Carpet cleaning services
- Pet grooming services to combat excessive shedding
- Local dog trainers to help mitigate behavioral issues like excessive barking or aggression
- Local veterinarians
Establish Some Pet-free Spaces
Even on a pet-friendly property, it can be useful to designate certain areas as off-limits to pets.
If your property operates a fitness center, business center, clubhouse, reading room, and other common facilities, it’s wise to keep this pet-free.
This policy will keep those areas comfortable for tenants and guests who may not like to be around animals or have animal-related allergies.
Common areas where pets are allowed, such as lobbies and hallways, also need to be cleaned frequently to get rid of harmful allergens.
The above tips are meant to help you accommodate pet-owning tenants more comfortably, while simultaneously mitigating the risks and challenges of running a pet-friendly property.
Implementing at least a few of these ideas will not only make your business easier to manage, but is also likely to boost tenant satisfaction.