• Sarah Rosenberg

Pet Friendly Policies Pay Off

Whether you’re a cat person or a dog person (and even if you’re not an animal person at all), you can’t help but notice the important role animal companions play in the lives of so many. But for property managers, having animals live onsite may feel like opening a Pandora’s box, inviting a whole realm of responsibility that could involve extra monitoring, maintenance, enforcement, and documentation, not to mention the added (and dreaded) dimension of potential animal-related resident complaints. Wouldn’t it just be so much easier to be a no-pets property?


Well, before you petition upper management for an exception to the company’s pet acceptance policy, consider what research shows us about the benefits of having pets, not only in the home but on property. It all boils down to some simple math.

Pets = Happiness

Animals in the home provide a source of constant companionship and boundless love. The comfort people get from knowing that someone is waiting for them at home can make all the difference after a long day at work or a traffic-riddled drive home. And beyond the obvious boons pets add to stress and anxiety reduction, bonding with pets has been proven to trigger the release of “happy” brain chemicals, like dopamine (a mood and long-term memory booster) and oxytocin (associated with empathy, trust, and relationship building).

Pets = Renewals + Improved NOI

It’s also worth considering that residents with pets tend to be more care-taking and are also more likely to view your property as the home that both they and their pets enjoy. And, because moving frequently can put stress on a pet, residents with pets are 21% more likely to renew their leases in order to stay where they and their pet are comfortable, improving your length-of-tenancy numbers.

What’s more, pet owners account for 46% of the housing-search population, but because of the inherent challenges in locating pet-friendly housing, pet owners submit 1.6 applications for every 1 application submitted by a petless prospect. This equates to a higher ROI simply by advertising your property as “pet-friendly.” Research also shows that pet-friendly properties often receive more applications per available unit which saves on advertising dollars, and 83% of owner operators say that pet-friendly vacancies can be filled faster. These numbers add up.

Pets = Improved Culture + Community

The presence of pets helps build a natural sense of community in ways that you as a property manager might not have time for or access to. For example, pets make excellent social icebreakers, and research suggests that dog owners are 20% more likely to be close friends with neighbors. And the presence of residents regularly walking around with their pets at all hours creates the kind of activity that makes a property safer from unwanted incursions.

Finally, here’s something you may never have considered. Because pets reduce social isolation, when your residents know their neighbors from regularly interacting with them, neighbors become actual people and not just annoyances on the other side of the wall. In one study involving over two hundred community members, pet owners exhibited greater self-esteem, were less lonely, were more conscientious, were more socially outgoing, and had healthier relationship styles (i.e., they were less fearful and less preoccupied) than nonowners. Imagine having a property where residents addressed each other directly to manage concerns and offered shared resolutions rather than complaints, simply because their neighbors were actually people they knew and had formed relationships with. No, really. Just imagine it.


Having pets on property may not be such a bad idea (or investment) after all.


For more information on how you can make the most out of being a pet friendly community, sign up for our newsletter. Or better yet, sign up for the Bark Buildings Pet Amenity Program and we’ll do the work for you!


Statistics cited above were pulled from housing trends reports published by Zillow Group and Michelson Found Animals Foundation.