Pet-friendly housing communities are one of the most sought-after amenities. Not every landlord wants a pet on their property, so when a tenant finds a place that welcomes their furry family member, it’s a relief.
It’s understandable that some landlords don’t want to risk the potential damage that can result from an untrained or unruly pet. Not every animal will damage a home, but sometimes owners don’t train their pets out of destructive habits like chewing the baseboards. However, there are responsible pet owners out there and being willing to allow pets gives you a better chance at renting your unit.
However, having a pet-friendly policy isn’t enough to fill your vacancy. Your property should also provide an inviting environment your tenant and pet can safely enjoy. If you’ve got a pet-friendly policy but notice you don’t have many tenants who actually have pets, the property may not appeal to pet owners.
Here are 4 ways to make your property more desirable to people with furry companions and save your property from damage at the same time:
- Install designated pet areas
Dogs need a place to run around, play, dig, and mark their territory. If there’s no designated area for their owner to take them to, they’re going to do it anywhere they can. This behavior is instinctual.
If your property is lined with picture-perfect flowers and tanbark mulching the trees that never crosses the sidewalk lines, don’t expect it to stay that way for long. Dogs are natural diggers and will often stop to dig on a simple walk; they won’t know certain areas are off-limits.
Also, when dogs pee on the grass, bushes, and flowers, especially female dogs, it kills the grass and plants and makes replanting an impossible task.
Installing a designated area for dogs to play is a good solution for both the pet’s owner and your property. Dogs can be taken to the designated fenced-in area to run around and play, keeping landscape destruction to a minimum. It will require more upkeep and maintenance, but it’s worth considering.
- Consider xeriscaping
There’s nothing worse than having your picnic or barbecue area end up with dead grass and bald spots due to dogs. The same goes for having plants and dirt dug up that formerly lined your community sidewalks.
Traditional landscapes with grass and other plants are quickly destroyed by a dog’s need to dig and mark their territory. Both poor drainage and urine cause brown spots that never grow back.
Many communities are now using xeriscaping to mitigate the effects of dogs just being dogs. The idea behind xeriscaping is to select “plants that can thrive with as little supplemental water as possible.” This prevents the need to constantly water the area, reducing the problems that come with a lack of drainage. It also eliminates the smell from pets constantly marking their territory.
Xeriscaping can be done with crushed rock
Pet-friendly communities are starting to landscape with decomposed granite or other types of rock for the surface rather than dirt and grass. These areas can be cleaned easily, smell included, with regular irrigation like a sprinkler system. It may look strange, but it works.
Believe it or not, many owners do worry about their dog killing plants by marking their territory, or digging up the flowers. If your entire community is landscaped to perfection with not a single flower out of place, someone with a dog might be leery of renting from you. They don’t want to be the person who messes it all up.
- Don’t plant poisonous plants
The best thing you could possibly do for any tenant who owns a pet is avoid planting known toxins to animals. There are a variety of plants that have adverse effects on the gastrointestinal tract of animals, and many of these plants are common. Few are deadly, but you need to know what you plant is safe.
Here’s a list of common toxic plants that should be avoided. This list includes common plants like aloe, the African daisy, aluminum plant, amaryllis, star lilies and even some tulips.
Not all toxic plants are life threatening if ingested, but nobody likes being sick, even pets. If you’ve got toxic plants on your property, consider replacing them with something more neutral. If you’re going to plant something in the future, check to see if it’s toxic to animals first.
- Replace the carpet after each tenant
When it’s your policy to replace the carpet after each tenant, the pet owner isn’t going to worry too much if their pet has an accident during their tenancy. Pet owners aren’t always worried about paying for damages. It’s the stress of explaining it that’s tough. This alone might seal the deal for a new tenant.
Replacing the carpet between tenants helps both pet owners and non-pet owners. Non-pet owners will know that regardless of what pet lived in the unit prior, their carpet won’t smell like urine. It also helps rent units to people with pet allergies.
A new tenant with severe pet allergies is not going to be able to rent a unit formerly occupied by a dog even after the carpet has been cleaned. This can be difficult to understand if you don’t have allergies. It’s difficult to remove all the dander from the carpet, and pet hair can become matted to the baseboards, get sucked into the heating vents, and can even work its way under the carpet.
Replacing the carpet allows the baseboards to be thoroughly cleaned, and the next tenant won’t need to worry about dander with fresh, new carpet.
Want to learn more about appealing to pet owners?
If you’re looking to fill some vacancies in a pet-friendly community, but are struggling to attract the right tenants, we can help. At Green Residential, we have extensive experience managing pet-friendly properties in the Katy area. We help landlords find and screen their tenants, collect rent on their behalf, and we can even help you create an effective pet policy.
Contact us today for a free analysis to find out how we can help you fill your vacancies with the right pet-friendly people.