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Information for Property Owners and Managers

Renting to all Pet Owners is Good for Pets, Good for Business

  • If you're not welcoming pets, you're missing out on great residents. Photo by Scharfsinn86/iStockPhoto.

More and more multifamily housing buildings — as many as 78%, according to a recent Apartments.com survey — accept pets. Why? Because accepting renters with pets is good business! After all, 72% of renters have pets, renters with pets stay in their units well over twice as long as non-pet-owning renters, and renters with pets do no more damage to units than non-pet-owners.

If your policies don’t welcome all cats and dogs, regardless of breed or size, you're not maximizing your pet-renter potential. The arbitrary breed and size restrictions typical of most "pet-friendly" properties are based on myth, adding to costs without making your residents any safer.

The information provided on these pages will show you why your existing breed and size restrictions are unnecessary, how not having welcoming pet policies is costing you great residents and lost revenue, and how your competitors are thriving after having eliminated their breed and size restrictions.

The Pet Myths That Are Costing You Money

Did you know that most pet restrictions (banned breeds, weight/size restrictions) in place in rental properties nationwide, large and small, are actually based on myth, not fact? And that these misperceptions are not only costing pets their lives, but costing your company money?

There's no such thing as a "dangerous" or "aggressive" breed of dog

There is no scientific basis supporting the notion that any breed of dog is more "dangerous" or "aggressive" than others; the concept is simply urban legend. Independent experts like the Centers for Disease Control, the American Veterinary Medical Association and others all agree that policies that restrict dogs based on appearance do nothing to reduce dog bites or enhance public safety (see the AVMA's news release "Want to Reduce Dog Bites? Don't Focus on the Breed").

There's no such thing as an "apartment-sized" dog

Dogs, like people, are individuals, and there are no "good" or "bad" apartment breeds. Many small dogs are vocal and excitable, reacting to every sound they hear throughout the day, while many larger dogs are content to lay silently on the couch awaiting their owner's return.

Pet owning renters don't cause more damage than non-pet owners

Evidence proves that pet owning renters  statistically do no more damage to rental units than non-pet owners. In fact, renters with pets stay in their units well over twice as long as non-pet owners (46 months vs 18 months), saving properties thousands of dollars per unit in turnover costs.

The nation's largest insurance providers don't have breed restrictions

Major carriers like State Farm, Farmer's and others are happy to ensure properties that welcome all breeds and sizes of dogs.

Most non-pet owners are happy to have pets on their properties

A 2014 Apartments.com survey found that 75% of non-pet owners surveyed said that they either enjoy or are not bothered by the idea of living in a building with pets.

Federal laws already require assistance animals be housed

The Fair Housing Act ensures that all cats and dogs who function as assistance animals may reside in rental housing, regardless of an apartment community's breed or size restrictions.

Renting to dogs without breed or weight restrictions significantly increases our market, and we have found that we usually have less turnover with dog owners.

- Cliff Orloff, CEO, Orloff Property Management
[W]e are not only thriving, we are rocking it! We are sitting nicely at 96+% occupied and making more money than in the entire time we've been open—and we've been open for 54 years!

- Tonja Bradford, Property Manager, The Palms

The Facts—Why Properties That Welcome All Cats and Dogs Are Profitable

Restrictive pet policies don't make financial sense for rental properties – the facts prove it!

  • Pet ownership continues to rise. 65% of households in the US now have pets (source: APPA) and 72% of renters have pets (source: Apartments.com); that means the pool of non-pet owners is going to keep getting smaller, and properties that restrict pet owners are missing out on the majority of highly qualified renters.
  • The average income of dog owners is higher than that of non-dog owners (source: APPA).
  • 50% of all dogs owned in the US are over 25 lbs., so size/weight restrictions dramatically narrow the potential pool of highly qualified renters
  • Dog ownership is highest among younger generations (source: APPA).
  • Only 10% of renters have ever lost a security deposit due to a pet (source: rent.com)
  • The average length of residency of renters with pets is over twice that of renters without pets (source: FIREPAW).
  • Pet owners statistically do no more damage to rental units than non-pet owners (source: FIREPAW).
  • Federal protections for service and assistance animals do not permit breed or weight restrictions.
  • Properties that welcome all pets report few, if any, requests for reasonable accommodation under federal or state law since residents are not forced to seek exceptions to existing policies in an effort to keep their pets.

The facts are clear: properties that welcome all cats and dogs, regardless of breed or size, can pick from the largest pool of highly qualified prospective residents, and they actually save money because their residents stay over twice as long in their units with no increase in damage or other costs.

Image from FIREPAW, Inc.

Don't Take Our Word For It—What Properties Have to Say

There are many companies around the country that have touted eliminating their breed and size restrictions  as a "marketing secret" to attract renters turned away by other properties. Here are just a few:

MAA: Currently #9 on the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) 2016 Ranking of the nation's 50 largest apartment owners, MAA's 285 properties spread over 14 states have no breed restrictions or size/weight limitations. MAA is a publicly traded company whose investors are profiting from policy.

MC Residential: With 7,500 units in 39 properties throughout the Southwest, MC Residential markets its pet policy by saying:

We love pets as much as you do. We know your furry four-legged companion isn't just a friend, he or she is family. And that's exactly why we do everything we can to make sure your pet feels as welcome as you are in our community . . . So come one, come all. Bring your Great Danes and your Chihuahuas, your Labradors and your Retrievers. Come with your old pups with gray on their muzzle and your funny fuzzy cats. You're all welcome and we can't wait to meet you!

As stated by Eric Brown, Vice President of Marketing, "Pets are part of people's lives. As opposed to restricting pets, we look for better residents. Most fears apartment operators have are myths."

Roscoe Properties: Roscoe's policy welcoming all cats and dogs, regardless of breed or size, has been in place since 2011. "[Austin residents] were so excited when they heard of our progressive ‘no breed or weight restriction' policy," reads an October 2013 blog posting on Roscoe's website. "We heard stories of how hard it is to find a place for their ‘fur babies' and how relieved [they are] that there is a company welcoming them with open arms."

Levitan Investment and Property Services: Since its founding 26 years ago, Levitan has had no breed or weight restrictions at any of its properties but one. There is no doubt that its decision to embrace pets of all breeds and sizes has contributed to Levitan being voted "Best Apartment Community" in Flagstaff by Arizona Daily Sun readers from 2005–2013.