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Nonprofits Tackle Restrictions on Pets in Rental Housing

They’ve launched the Pet-Inclusive Housing Initiative.

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(PRESS RELEASE) Nonprofit organizations Michelson Found Animals Foundation and the Human Animal Bond Research Institute have launched the Pet-Inclusive Housing Initiative, a research and resource development initiative that promotes access to the joy of pets in every home. As part of the initial phase, the organizations released the results of the most comprehensive survey research to date on pets and rental housing in the United States.

The research shows that, while the majority of rental housing allows pets, significant restrictions present hurdles for pet-owning renters. The research also shows that there are major opportunities for property owners and operators who can ease such restrictions.

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“Michelson Found Animals and HABRI had a clear goal with this research: to provide actionable insights that can help make it easier for renters to have pets in their lives,” said Aimee Gilbreath, executive director, Michelson Found Animals. “More pet-inclusive rentals could lead to millions more adoptions for renters who want pets.”

Steven Feldman, HABRI executive director, added: “The health and wellness benefits of pet ownership are well documented. Both renters and property managers understand how great pets are, and when restrictions are lifted, everyone can enjoy the full benefits of the human-animal bond.”

One third of pet owners in restricted pet-friendly housing said they would get another pet if restrictions were lifted, and 35 percent of non-pet-owners in non-pet-friendly housing would get a pet if restrictions were lifted. With changes that would allow more pets to be accommodated, as many as 8.75 million animals could find new homes over time.

  • 24 percent of renters with pets said that “my pet has been a reason for me needing to move,” which means as many as 6 million people have experienced a move related to pet ownership at some point in their lives.
  • 83 percent of property managers say that pet-friendly vacancies can be filled faster.
  • 79 percent of property managers say that pet-friendly vacancies are easier to fill.
  • Residents in pet-friendly units stay longer, averaging 4.6 years vs. 3.8 years for non-pet-friendly units.

“Pets are good for business. This data shows there are real opportunities for property owners and operators to achieve higher levels of occupancy and retention,” Feldman added. “With the Pet-Inclusive Housing Initiative, we hope to bring housing providers and the pet care community together, so that everyone can learn and benefit from this new data.”

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Additional Key Findings

  • Most rental housing is pet-friendly, with a variety of requirements
  • 76 percent of rental units are identified by owner/operators as pet friendly
  • 72 percent restrict the number of pets
  • 77 percent allow dogs
  • 50 percent restrict the size of the dog, and the average weight limit is 45 pounds.
  • 50 percent restrict the breed of the dog
  • 64 percent allow cats
  • 51 percent of pet owners were required to take formal steps to have their pet approved, including signing addendums/additional contracts, providing health records/training certificates, and showing proof of pet insurance
  • Both renters and property owners/managers believe pets are good for communities.
  • 93 percent of property managers believe that pets are important members of the family
  • 86 percent of property managers say they have a positive relationship with most renters with pets
  • 81 percent of property managers say they would work with renters if they discovered they had an unapproved pet
  • 71 percent of all renters (including those without pets) agree that pets bring people together within a community
  • 92 percent of all renters (including those without pets) agree that pets are important members of the family
  • 66 percent of all renter pet-owners say that their pets have brought them closer to their neighbors

“Pets bring us all together, so we know that we can use this research as the basis for a positive dialogue to increase the availability of pet-friendly rental housing to everyone’s benefit. So stay tuned,” added Gilbreath.

petsandhousing.org, foundanimals.org, habri.org

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