If Americans are going to spend $50 billion a year on their pets, multifamily housing owners and other landlords are going to get in on the action. It’s all about “what can you do for my pet?” explains property manager Mark Hannan, whose building offers a rooftop dog park with puppy-sized playground equipment and side-by-side water fountains for dogs and owners[1]. Hannan suggests that rental managers and owners consider optimizing underutilized space on their properties to bring in pet owners who, even in tough economic times, care for their animals and are usually willing to shell out a few extra bucks in order to keep their pampered pooches happy. In Hannan’s property, tenants pay $500 upfront for access to the dog park and a recurring membership fee of $50 a month. In some areas of the country, depending on the caliber of the pet-friendly amenities of course, the costs are much higher.

According to the American Humane Association, the pet-friendly market is more common than you might expect. In fact, in the Denver metro area, for example, the association reports that 98 percent of apartment communities accept cats; 93 percent accept “small dogs,” and 66 percent accept “large dogs”[2]. Because it is not particularly difficult to find a facility that will allow a pet, now the challenge has become to make pet-oriented services like “paw-dicures,” and doggy daycare stand out from the crowd.

Have you made your rental homes pet-friendly? Do you think it is worth it to take pets and, if so, what types of deposits and references do you require?

by Carol VanSickle