Tip of the Week: Dog-Friendly, Financially Savvy

When it comes to housing, the bias against renting to pet owners is real. And in a time when many people are facing financial hardship, the availability of animal-friendly housing can mean the difference between keeping—or surrendering—a pet. This week’s tip offers guidance on how shelters can influence local rental communities to let go of restrictions.

In 2016, nearly 20% of the dogs taken in by Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando were surrendered because of landlord and housing issues. In order to keep more pets (read: large dogs) and their people together, the Florida agency decided to launch a Pet Apartment Registry, where people could go to find a rental community that would accept pets.

So how did they get communities to let go of restrictions on breed and size? Executive Director Stephen Bardy describes two top tactics that worked for the Florida agency.

Keep It Strictly Business

When speaking to managers of rental communities, Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando found that emotional appeals focusing on a message of animal welfare were ineffective. What did work, however, was sharing statistics that showed renting to people with pets would increase their revenue. According to their commissioned economic impact study, renters with pets stayed in their apartments much longer than renters without pets (42 months vs. 18 months on average!), reducing turnover and the cost of acquiring new tenants. 

No Calls, Please

Bardy reports that phone calls and emails to apartment complexes went largely unanswered and unreturned. The dynamic changed dramatically when you’re face-to face. “We got the best response by just stopping by” to arrange a meeting, he says.


These tips were shared in a 30-minute recorded webinar, Where Will I Live?: Creating Rental Communities that Accept All Dogs. Register for the recording.

The Association is the only international society of leaders actively leading and managing community animal shelters/animal control agencies.

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