The apartment industry is updating its pet policies to better serve modern renters with pets, but the policies can be difficult to find online.
By Judy Bellack, Industry Principal, The Pet-Inclusive Housing Initiative
The apartment world is doing a commendable job of moving away from antiquated pet policies in favor of those more fitting for the modern renter. Trouble is, sometimes those policies are impossible to find.
Imagine trying to enter your confirmation number for a flight and not being able to find the check-in page on the airline’s website. Frustrating, right? Well, that’s how pet-owning prospective renters can feel when they’re perusing a community site but can’t seem to access the pet policies online.
The problem of inaccessible online pet policies is two-fold. For the prospect, the choice becomes whether to interrupt the online search and call the community, or worse, move along to the next property. For already overburdened onsite teams, the need to spend time on the phone to relay information that should be readily available is inefficient and frustrating.
Essentially, it wastes time for everyone involved.
Some renters might not be a fit at your community because they have four pets and your limit is two, or they own a Hokkaido wolf and that’s among your restricted breeds. If comprehensive pet policies are online, they don’t have to call the community and be disappointed or annoyed that they don’t qualify.
Those whose pets do qualify already know that up front, if the policies are clear and accessible online. Then when they contact the onsite team to learn more about the community, they can already be categorized as qualified traffic.
Keeping in mind that approximately 50% of digital leads generated in the industry go untouched—often due to the sheer volume of leads—that makes prequalification much more critical. When onsite teams can concentrate on quality leads, conversion rates rise due to interactions with prospects with a genuine chance of leasing.
Considering that roughly 67% of the U.S. population owns a pet, a pet policy is relevant to two out of every three renters. Simply saying you’re pet-friendly isn’t enough. It’s ambiguous and doesn’t tell the entire story. It could mean that you only accept one pet per household, as long as it’s less than 20 pounds. Today’s pet-owning renter is savvy; they know that there are a variety of restrictions, and want to get to this information quickly because it’s a non-negotiable. Let’s face it: renters aren’t going to give up their furry family member no matter how fabulous your property may be or how talented a leasing agent is.
Whatever your current policy is, it’s better to have it online where it can be easily accessed. Granted, communities with more generous limits and relaxed breed and weight restrictions will attract more potential pet owners. If your pet policies fall in that more modern-day bucket, displaying them essentially serves as a bargaining chip. It shows potential renters that you’re more forward-thinking than your competitors in the neighborhood when it comes to pets.
So while this advice certainly isn’t universal, it rings true when it comes to online pet policies—If you’ve got them, flaunt them.