Luxury style pet amenities are a new feature that apartment developers and property management companies are putting in place to draw the increasing number of younger tenants who have pets and want to rent.
By John Triplett
Rental Housing Journal
Apartment developers are creating new spaces both inside buildings and outside to build in more pet-friendly amenities and services for tenants.
In a recent interview, Kristen Gucwa, vice president of national lease-up operations at Richman Signature Properties, talked about some of the top pet amenities in their pet-friendly properties in Florida, Colorado and Texas.
“We have luxury rentals in several states and we do a lot of research when we go into these areas. What we are finding is that a pet is an incredibly important member of the family. So we do need to realize that and make them feel just as welcome as any other member of the family as they are moving in,” Gucwa said.
75 percent of millennials have pets
“We work with BarkBox as one of our partners and they have some research that shows 75% of millennials currently have a pet – just a phenomenal number,” Gucwa said. ”And, most of our renters are millennials and GenXers, so when you are working with them, you look for new ways to pamper their furry friends and put together pet-friendly living spaces.
“Some of the things we do is put pet parks in our properties. You usually do not find great spaces for your pet to run around in downtown areas in apartment complexes.
“We have a project in downtown Tampa called Aurora that has a fantastic pet park so you actually have green space for your dog in a downtown location. Some of our locations have agility courses which are great because they get to run around and have fun.
“We also do social events where they can come out with their pet for our ‘Yappy Hours’ which are always incredibly popular. We will do our pet dress up days where they bring them out for prizes. A lot of our events you can bring your pets to. It is more of a social, inviting aspect that we want to have at our properties,” she said.
Pet spas one of the newest apartment pet amenities
Photos copyright Richman Signature Properties
“One of the newest amenities that we have are our pet spas. They have gotten more and more high-end, and more inclusive of some of the amenities you would find in an outside pet spa that you would pay for – but here it is right downstairs in you building,” Gucwa said.
“These are walk-up tubs, a place to dry – huge spaces that we are dedicating in our buildings to these areas which are incredibly important to our renters.
‘They are huge spaces that fit both large and small dogs, and they do get used quite frequently.”
She said most of their newer project properties now have the pet spas.
Pet amenities and move-in gifts
“We partnered with BarkBox, a popular pet toy and treat service, and our residents can choose it with their move-in gift. We have several different types of move-in gifts too such as the live healthier fitbit move-in gift, or an interior design option with an outside company called Laurel & Wolf. Or they can choose their move-in gift to go to their pet, such as BarkBox.
“BarkBox is a little gift you get each month with different toys and treats delivered to your apartment that are customized to your pet. So each month for the first three months your pet gets that subscription we offer as a gift when you move in.
She said tenants have been very excited about these amenities.
“BarkBox has become one of the more popular move-in gifts.” And “our Yappy Hours” are one of the most well-attended events that we have each month. So it’s a great way for our residents to socialize. It is a little bit easier and less intimidating when you can bring your pet with you.”
She said some of their properties are also involved in monthly pet photo contests. And, all of their properties also do pet DNA testing.
Richman Signature Properties has three properties in South Florida, four properties in the Tampa Bay area, opened the first one in Dallas last year across from White Rock Lake and the newest is in Denver in the LoHi area, she said, and more under construction.
“Our property in St. Petersburg, Florida has an agility park and a place to do the dog wash right there in the park. So they really range between the properties,” she said.
Are competitors matching pet amenities?
Gucwa said they are starting to see some of their competitors starting to do some of the same things with luxury pet amenities.
“One of the things that sets our properties apart is probably the social element. We add to it with our partnerships like the one with BarkBox and the different events we do with them. Or, the Yappy Hours which we are doing which are more on a consistent basis. It is really about the social connectivity and becoming part of the local atmosphere in the community.
“So I think that sets us apart a little bit, but you are seeing a lot more of the local apartment communities becoming much more aware of the fact that they have to adapt to the folks who have pets. And that they are an incredibly important part of their lives.
“Some of the events we have coming up are partnering with groups, like the Humane Society, where we will do pet adoptions and we will waive your pet deposit. That way we can encourage people to adopt as well and give back,” she said.
Some of the move-in gifts offered:
- Live Furrier: Residents receive a complimentary three-month subscription to popular pet toy and treat service Barkbox.
- Live Prettier: Residents receive complimentary interior design services from designers Laurel & Wolf.
- Live Easier: Residents receive a complimentary membership to Shipt.
- Live Healthier: Residents receive a complimentary Fitbit and fitness gear.
About the Richman Group:
The Richman Group, a rental property development company and seventh largest owner and operator of residential apartments in the country, has 15 Richman Signature Properties in Florida, Texas and Colorado with more to come in Los Angeles and other locations. These projects range from 240 to 417 residences, depending on their location and market. Some are in urban areas and others in suburban settings, with studios to three-bedrooms ranging from $1,200 to $2,800 per month. What they all have in common is accommodations for pets.