Big or Small, let’s Welcome them All!

We were taking a tour at a multifamily rental development in San Francisco with a property manager in January. We stood by the property’s dog park and watched as all sizes and breeds were racing around, playing off-leash. Having toured many multifamily developments across the States over the years we noticed something unusual. The dogs. Many of them were big. And there were many of them.

“Those dogs are way bigger than the normal allowances we see, what’s the story with that?” we asked.

“That,” the property manager said, “was the best thing we ever did. We lifted the weight restrictions on dogs. And it’s been a game changer for us.”

“How so?”

“We’ve had a phenomenal increase in interested renters and a much greater choice of qualified renters. We can pick and choose who we want from a better pool than ever before.”

We watched a German Shepherd tug-of-war with a lab. “Didn’t this create problems with other renters or cause tension between pets?”

“You’d think, but one year in and not a single complaint. And our retention rate has increased like crazy – folks don’t want to leave and will absorb rent increases so long as they can stay. We’re expanding this to our entire portfolio. It pays.”

The top three most popular breeds in the United States fall foul of most current weight restrictions on multifamily rentals – Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Golden Retrievers. Those renters have money to spend and if your multifamily cannot accommodate them, they will find one that does – and pay top dollar for the privilege. In short, going the extra mile to make pet owners feel welcome has paid off in increased interest and renter quality, increased loyalty and retention, and rent increases and absorption. In short – pets pay. 

Avalon Pet Spa

Pets matter to the bottom line.
More than kids.

If you do not think pets are a big deal, deal with these numbers:

More than 50% of apartment seekers claim they do not secure a lease because of restrictive or unattractive pet policies.

Those numbers, and the opportunity and money they represent, are way too big to dismiss. And as the number of empty nesters and young people who delay marriage is growing, so is the number of pets – they’re filling a void of companionship for a growing number of Americans. An American Veterinary Medical Associations research survey found dog ownership is now growing at a good clip among renters.

And when we say pets, we’re not talking about people thinking of their pets as furry toys with four legs. It’s a serious emotional thing for them – 80% of those pet owners claim they care for their pets as if they are their own children. Pets are serious business and an as-serious emotional attachment for multifamily renters. They decide from their pet’s perspective as much, if not more, than their own, and the number of multifamily properties with pets are currently more than double the number of those with kids. Simply put, by not being pet-friendly, they lose half their potential renters. 

Avalon Pet Spa

So, what are multifamilies doing to pamper pets?

Pet-friendly no longer just means pets are begrudgingly allowed. It means a lot more. With multifamily, the vast bulk of pet pampering is geared towards dogs. Which makes sense. Cats, birds, fish, snakes, gerbils, and others are a lot easier to keep inside all day. Dogs not so much. So, what are some of the things multifamily is doing these days that we can learn from and be inspired by? They range from the pure practical to the purely indulgent:

Wag Social Promotions and Pet Park

Finally, market your pet-friendliness!

Now that all of your great policies and activities are in place, it’s time to share them with potential renters that both own and love pets! Here are some great ways to spread the word:

Compare the costs of a more pet-friendly property to that of the potential revenue increases. Those who have think it’s worth it to go the extra mile and roll out the red furry carpet.


From planned pet events to social campaigns to professional photography marketing your pet-friendly community is a must.

A Luxury Pet-Only Community

Pet-friendly marketing is so beneficial that Greystar wanted to create the first pet-only community. The catch? It was for April Fools. They tasked Primary with creating a 3D rendering of how the community would look, scratching post doors and all. Come see a closer look.

Avalon’s WAG Promotions

They took their pet-friendly communities to the next level by creating timely promotions to boost brand loyalty and keep their pet-loving residents engaged. Check out how we helped build out this one-of-a-kind program.

EBlasts promote Avalon’s reoccurring WAG events.
WAG Social Campaigns

Pet-centric Photography

Professional photography shows potential renters you’re serious about your pet-friendly community.

Check out more Real Estate Marketing from Primary.