Pets – friend or foe?

We are a nation of animal lovers; although when it comes to investors and landlords you would think we were the only animals allowed on the planet!  The challenges that allowing pets into blocks of flats brings is enormous.  The enormity I will return to in a minute. Before that let us reflect on the investors, landlords and operators who lay down the laws on who can and can’t come in.  I am sure given the truism of animals, the nation and love that these same investors, landlords and operators would not be without their four-legged friends but opine on the rental community as to who can enjoy and embrace creature comforting.

From my international experience in USA and Ireland there is an ability to get a medical certificate to confirm you need your pet for emotional support and armed with said certificate you must be allowed to habit with your beast of choice.  Now I say beast advisedly because friends in the USA are finding snakes, alligators and totally inappropriate dogs are being labelled as an absolute necessity for the person to continue to live!  Indeed, in the USA unscrupulous Doctors (or those who just fancy a quick buck!) will provide a certificate at your wish!

I am sure it is one short bunny hop across the Irish sea for us to be under the constraint and controls.  Therefore would it not be sensible for the rental community to embrace pets and plan how to monetise and operate efficiently rather than ban and bar anything other than humans.  This is also another huge marketing opportunity for the multifamily market which in having control of a whole building can make sure pet friendly buildings don’t alienate those who would rather not be around them or may have allergies.  In the general letting community of the buy to let investors not having control of the whole block and your lease most likely having a ban on the feathered and furry critters would make your embracing of a wider community incredibly difficult.

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It is sensible to have floors allocated for pets and floors that are human’s only.  This will then allow the differentiation of those whose sensitivities and nervous dispositions would be challenged to live in harmony and peace.  Of course, you need to be sure that nocturnal barking wouldn’t create a cacophony to challenge Disney’s The Aristocats at their freestyle jazz finest!  Mind you sound proofing of the apartments should be a basic in the first place.

Sensible planning of what animals you would wish to stay outside of the building and those you’ll embrace should see you have a clear line with potential renters and avoid the murky grey area when it comes to how to say no nicely.  If we get emotional pets then that will mean planning in a different way.

Seeking pet deposits to cover the unwanted pet deposits (if you get what I mean) can mitigate the impact of damage and devastation to the apartment and the building.  Embracing a pet rent will increase operating income.  You only have to look at the ongoing success of Pet World and the toys and clothes pets find thrust on them to realise the lengths their owners will go to in making their life revolve around them.

Whether you want to stay pet free or turn your building into a static Ark of which Noah would tip his hat to, either way that is the owners choice.  However, as an income source you can’t look a gift horse in the mouth!

 

Roger Southam, Multifamily Innovator & Advisor

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