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When properties make the move to become more pet-friendly, they often exhale and envision a world of frolicking pets. But, in some ways, much of the work is just beginning.

While the pet-centric policy change is a bold move and sure to attract pet-owning residents, more pets on-site mean more challenges with property upkeep. Fortunately, property teams can take a proactive approach to maintenance to help ensure things operate as smoothly as possible at pet-friendly communities.

Here is a look at some best practices to help protect units and common areas from pet-related damage and create an enjoyable living experience for pet owners and non-pet owners alike.

Perform Regular Inspections

Property teams should regularly monitor three defined areas—the general condition of the property, potential areas of damage, and the on-site pet population.

By proactively monitoring the general condition of the property, teams can help prevent any minor issues—such as a gap starting to form in the dog park fence—from turning into safety hazards. By identifying potential areas of damage with a home early in the process, such as chewed fixtures or scratched floors, properties can help reduce the potential for costly repairs down the road.

And by regularly monitoring the on-site pet population, teams can self-verify that all pets are authorized to live at the property—and identify those that aren’t. This can help prevent potential liability issues and ensure residents have gone through the proper channels to have their pets on-site. Properties should have a method in place to confirm residents formally acknowledge the community guidelines whether they own a pet or host a visiting one.

Implement a Proactive Maintenance Schedule

By performing regular property walkthroughs, property teams can prevent minor issues from escalating and ensure the pet-friendly experience touted by the community remains intact. This includes making certain that all pet-waste stations are properly stocked, which assists residents in being responsible and picking up after their pets.

Teams also should adjust maintenance initiatives to account for specific seasonal-related challenges, such as increased indoor pet activity during colder months or heightened dog-park activity in the summer. In addition, as part of the proactive approach, property teams should have emergency preparedness plans in place. Certain emergency maintenance requests might be more common at properties with pets.

Consider Pet-Resistant Materials

Knowing wear and tear will be more prominent on floors, hallways, and pet-centric outdoor areas, properties can consider implementing pet-resistant materials in high-traffic zones. Examples include hardwood, vinyl or laminate floors, porcelain tiles, high-performance carpet, and semigloss paint. Additionally, with the heightened chances for odors and stains in pet-populated homes, properties can consider strict cleaning protocols during the turn process. This includes practices such as more robust carpet-cleaning measures.

Educate Residents

Property teams should provide residents with information about local pet services, such as groomers, trainers, dog walkers, and veterinarians. This helps connect pet owners with their local resources, keep their pets healthy and well-behaved, and foster a better overall experience for all residents.

In addition, teams should make certain that pet policies are clear and easy to find. This ensures residents have a clear understanding about any pet fees, noise expectations, and any other community-specific guidelines. This can help reduce any potential damages and limit the scope of any needed maintenance requests.

Naturally, investing in pet amenities will help encourage responsible pet ownership as well. Not all properties are blessed with an abundance of free space, but pet relief areas, fenced-in parks, and pet-wash stations are solid additions and a simple place to start. Operators also should have a process in place to thoroughly assess the risk posed by individual pets and their owners when they are applying for a home, which enables properties to tier pet fees accordingly.

Numerous studies indicate that, when their pets are happy, pet owners show an increased propensity to renew their lease. Proactive measures such as preventive maintenance can help properties not only attract new residents but retain the ones they have. Utilizing the tips above can help ensure properties are creating the most optimal pet-friendly experience.