Keeping Pets and People Together, the Pet-Inclusive Housing Initiative is Leading the Way with the Housing Industry’s Best

Meet the PIHI team and some of today’s industry leaders interviewed here, including Oculus Realty and The Management Group, and learn how easing restrictions and becoming more pet-friendly leads to better business and happier communities.

The Pet-Inclusive Housing Initiative (PIHI) was created through a collaboration between the Michelson Found Animals Foundation (MFA) and the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), with the goal of increasing the availability of truly pet-friendly rental housing. Together, MFA and HABRI commissioned much-needed research to better understand the issues and find the right solutions in order to keep pets and families together.

“A lot of people find themselves in a situation where they have to choose between housing and their pet. Our mission is to make sure that never happens.” – Ross Barker, Program Director, Pet-Inclusive Housing Initiative

From their research findings, PIHI has developed resources and partnerships that support pet parents and showcase the value of pet-friendly rental housing to rental owners and operators.

Since launching the initiative and publishing community resources such as the Pet-Inclusive Housing Report in 2021, the program has seen great success among rental housing operators in the multifamily industry. One industry leader that stands out in its efforts to embrace pets in the community is Oculus Realty, a Metro D.C. area multifamily housing operator. In Spring 2019, Oculus Realty decided to implement a “no pet restrictions” policy and dropped all breed and weight restrictions for dogs. K. David Meit, CPM, Principal of Oculus Realty, and his team worked on new solutions to make their properties more pet inclusive by getting business associates on board, such as insurance companies Travelers and Hartford Mutual, and expanding pet services and events through partnerships with third-party vendors and local businesses, such as Bark Buildings and Petco.

“What we’ve learned over the years is pet ownership is a huge factor in community building, and building community is what generates retention.” – K. David Meit, CPM, Principal of Oculus Realty

Another pet-positive leader in the rental housing industry is The Management Group (TMG), an Atlanta-based multifamily property management firm. An early adopter of pet inclusiveness, they have succeeded in becoming one of the most pet-welcoming operators in the Southeast United States. Doing so involved a few bold moves. By eliminating breed and weight restrictions, utilizing innovative pet technology resources, and elevating pet-friendliness to its full potential, TMG’s revamp of pet policies has led to a tremendous 80% renewal rate among pet-owning residents. 

“Within our market, we definitely have seen a competitive advantage compared to the other communities by having this awesome pet policy.” – Brooke Atsalis, Director of Marketing & Leadership Development, The Management Group

Through compelling research and actionable tools, PIHI’s goal is to work with these and other leaders of the community to build a stronger rental housing industry and a more pet-positive world. Visit to access resources for pet parents and housing operators, as well as detailed case studies describing the pet-inclusive journeys of Oculus, TMG, and fellow industry leaders.