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Easing restrictions on pets in rental housing could help millions of pets find homes

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Research from non-profit organizations Michelson Found Animals Foundation and the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) 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.

One third of pet owners in restricted pet-friendly housing said they would get another pet if restrictions were lifted, and 35% 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.

“More pet-inclusive rentals could lead to millions more adoptions for renters who want pets,” said Aimee Gilbreath, executive director, Michelson Found Animals.

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.”

Besides benefitting animals, the results seem to suggest that pets are good for the rental business. 83% of property managers said that pet-friendly vacancies can be filled faster; and residents in pet-friendly units stay longer, averaging 4.6 years vs. 3.8 years for non-pet-friendly units.

“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.”

The Michelson Found Animals Foundation and HABRI recently launched the Pet-Inclusive Housing Initiative, a research and resource development initiative that promotes access to the joy of pets in every home. The comprehensive survey results on pets and rental house was recently as part of the initial phase of this joint venture.

ADDITIONAL KEY FINDINGS

Most Rental Housing is Pet-Friendly, with a variety of Requirements

  • 76% of rental units are identified by owner/operators as pet friendly
  • 72% restrict the number of pets
  • 77% allow dogs
    • 50% restrict the size of the dog, and the average weight limit is 45 lbs.
    • 50% restrict the breed of the dog
  • 64% allow cats
  • 51% 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.

  • 71% of all renters (including those without pets) agree that pets bring people together within a community
  • 92% of all renters (including those without pets) agree that pets are important members of the family
  • 66% 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,” Gilbreath said.

For more information go to petsandhousing.org.

About the Market Research

The market research, conducted by data and analytics consultancy LRW on behalf of Michelson Found Animals Foundation and HABRI, was conducted in the United States to explore the current housing circumstances of renters with and without pets in non-rural settings, and the perceptions of property owners and managers towards pet-friendly housing and pet owners. The research was conducted online among a nationally-representative sample of 1,049 renters (749 pet owners and 300 non-pet owners) and by telephone with 500 property owners and managers.

About Michelson Found Animals Foundation

Michelson Found Animals Foundation is a leading animal welfare non-profit that believes people and pets are better together. Generously funded by Dr. Gary Michelson and Alya Michelson, Found Animals operates a range of social enterprises, impact investments, strategic partnerships, and thought leadership initiatives that share a common goal: to champion pets at every point they intersect with our society. Found Animals has helped more than 5 million pets since it was founded in 2005. Learn more at foundanimals.org.

About HABRI

HABRI is a not-for-profit organization that maintains the world’s largest online library of human-animal bond research and information; funds innovative research projects to scientifically document the health benefits of companion animals; and informs the public about human-animal bond research and the beneficial role of companion animals in society. For more information, please visit habri.org.

Featured photo by Thiago Rebouças on Unsplash

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