65% of U.S households own a pet, and it’s estimated that Los Angeles County is home to about 2 million cats and dogs. It can be tempting to impose a “no pets” policy at your multifamily, but when you do, you risk turning away a significant number of potential tenants who have pets. The reality is that, in the hypercompetitive LA rental market, allowing pets makes your property instantly more appealing to the hoards of renters who come with an animal in tow.
Consequently, multifamily owners are now wisely taking a different approach and going all out to attract tenants with pets. The return on investment for adding pet friendly upgrades and amenities can be significant when you consider that about 72% of renters have pets. Here are just a few of the ways you can upgrade and pet-proof your property to attract even more of America’s 83 million pet-loving renters.
How to Make your Multifamily Pet Friendly
In my experience there are actually quite a few different ways to create a pet-friendly environment in your multifamily, some of which just require a little expertise and thinking outside the box.
Add a Dog Park
Dog parks are becoming more and more ubiquitous among multifamilies, and with their growing popularity as an amenity has come an evolution from fenced in grass patches to well-designed, community-friendly spaces. When it comes to engineering the most functional and aesthetically-pleasing dog park at your multifamily, consider these must-have features:
- A leashing and unleashing area
- Watering stations
- Artificial turf
- Potty stations
- A bulletin board
- Play structures
- A dog-friendly fence
Dog parks are not just great for the animals. Having a dedicated space makes it easier to keep other parts of your complex clean and free of pet waste. I’ve also found that dog parks are a fantastic way of building community among tenants and they can go a long way toward making an apartment block feel like home.
Create an Indoor Pet Playground
Sometimes you simply won’t have enough room for an outdoor dog park, but there are still some things that I would suggest to work around this. This solution has long been popular in countries abroad, and it can be a perfect compromise for Southern California locations as well. Almost any space—as long as it’s large enough—can be transformed into a pet area, even your apartment’s rooftop. Consider decorating spaces with features from the outside that pets love such as fire hydrants, lampposts, benches, and trees. Alternatively, turn it into an adventure area with seesaws, stairs, tunnels and climbable objects.
Ultimately, the biggest advantage of creating an indoor pet playground is that it can be used by cats as well as dogs. There’s no reason you can’t build a multipurpose pet playground that caters to both animals—just make sure you enforce a schedule so that they don’t have to share the space at the same time.
Establish a Grooming Center
Offering on-site grooming services to residents is a significant time-saving convenience for them that means they won’t have to travel across town to another location. They’ll also appreciate the use of professional equipment that will allow them to really treat their friend. A designated washroom will also save you the maintenance headache of unclogging hair-filled drains in residents’ bathrooms.
An obsolete laundry room is a perfect place to create a washroom or grooming center, and there a few things to keep in mind when redesigning the space:
- Choose multi-purpose tubs to accommodate different breeds. Alternatively, base your tub choice on your pet policy if you only allow dogs of a certain size.
- Don’t just stop at bath tubs. Consider providing guests with towels to dry down their pets or go the extra mile and provide a canine blow dryer.
- Use slip-resistant flooring that doesn’t damage doggy paws.
- Use splash and stain-resistant surfaces such as stainless steel.
- Soundproof the room so barks don’t disturb other residents.
Alternatively, you can consider leasing out space in your multifamily to a professional groomer. Not only can this add extra income in the form of commercial rent, but tenants may prefer sending their pet to a professional—especially if you can negotiate a discounted rate for residents.
Pets will be spending the most time in your residents’ units themselves, so you must ensure that your apartments are fortified and pet-proof to minimize potential damage. Make sure you’ve got all the bases covered by:
- Installing pet-friendly flooring. Carpet or hardwood probably aren’t ideal in an apartment where there’s a pet. Even if they are well behaved, mishaps can still happen. Instead, opt for vinyl, tile or laminate flooring that looks great and is also durable and scratch-resistant.
- Installing pet screens on window and doors. This is a great way to allow tenants to open their windows without worrying about their pets running away. They can also be implemented on exits from your apartment block to stop pets running into the road.
- Covering electrical outlets and power cords. The same rules can apply for children as pets when it comes to safety. exposed outlets and cords can be a serious danger to pets.
- Providing pet-proof trash cans. Your tenants are sure to appreciate you providing a trash can that prevents their pets from turning your kitchen into a disaster zone.
There’s only so much pet-proofing you can do yourself as the apartment owner, and it won’t necessarily take away the need to collect a pet deposit, but preemptive measures can nonetheless help put you and your tenants at ease.
A Multifamily Owner’s Best Friend
If you’re ready to take the first step toward pet-proofing your apartment, REIG are here to help. We have a pedigree helping multifamily owners to successfully renovate their apartments and have already installed a number of unique dog parks at southern California multifamilies. Receive a quote for your project by speaking to a team member today.