'Residents' Come in Many Breeds

Magazine ,

‘Residents’ Come in Many Breeds

By Bonnie Smetzer, CPM, HCCP, JMG Realty Inc.


Apartment managers have come a long way in how we view pet owners. Years ago, it could be a challenge to find an apartment that allowed pets. Today, it is very unusual to find an apartment that does not allow pets.

According to a recent article in Forbes, the pet industry has been experiencing unbelievable growth. Over the past 30 years, pet ownership has increased to 68 percent of all households. Millennial and Gen Z consumers are reported to account for 62 percent of pet ownership, while Baby Boomers make up 32 percent. It’s no wonder that apartment owners, managers, and developers are rolling out the red carpet for pets, as a way to increase occupancy and increase renewals.

As a pet owner, I think it is smart business to cater to residents who love pets. What better way to make residents feel at home and want to stay and renew their lease than to make our apartments welcoming for animal lovers, while also creating a great environment for non-pet residents. Impossible task you ask? We actually do it every day.

As a dog lover, I look forward to going home and having a nice place to walk my dogs and to see them get to play outside, after having been inside all day. Our pet loving residents also have that same feeling. If you create a great environment for pets, residents will be more inclined to renew their lease, because they will not want to move from the atmosphere you have created. After all, it’s pretty hard to explain to your dog that you are moving and taking them away from their park and play pals. Sounds like kids, right? Absolutely!

As I tour properties, I am amazed at all the new pet amenities. I love to see the well-lighted pet parks where dogs can be taken off a leash and allowed to run. Some communities offer pet parks specifically for small or large breeds. There are double gates, creating a holding area so that a dog can’t get out when another dog enters the park. Pet parks provide water for the dogs, fake fire hydrants, and other items for fun and exercise. Some even have artificial turf that is specifically designed so that it can be cleaned daily. Many properties offer pet spas and even pet pools!

As demand for pet amenities grew, managers had to find ways to offset the cost to install them and to maintain the grounds. Additional security deposits along with pet fees and pet rent are the only logical choice for helping to offset the costs.  After all, it’s not fair to charge residents without pets for something that only benefits residents with pets.

We have come a long way from just offering dog treats in the leasing office. I anxiously await the next great pet amenity, maybe even one that will top the pet pool.