Do people in your city have an efficient way to find pet-friendly rental housing? If not, a pet-friendly housing registry can be a valuable tool for those who need to relocate and help keep pets from being surrendered.
Case Study: Fort Wayne
The city of Fort Wayne, Indiana, which became a BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ certified city in 2019, provides a great example. Working with apartment complexes, landlords and property owners, the city compiled a list of pet-friendly local housing options.
Now, the city’s Animal Care & Control team uses the list as a resource when families are considering the difficult decision to surrender their pets. When people reach out through social media or in person, the list can help pet owners make sure they’ve explored every available option before giving up their pet.
Holly Pasquinelli, Humane Education Coordinator for Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control, explains, ” This program has helped people by providing them a resource of housing options they previously were not aware of, and that keeps more pets out of the shelter and in their homes where they are already loved.”
Create a pet-friendly housing registry in your city
Your pet-friendly housing list can be created and maintained by the city, a local animal welfare partner, the chamber of commerce or another partner. What’s most important is that it is thorough and kept up to date, to be as helpful as possible. Here are tips to get started:
- Identify the best local team to create and manage the registry. This can be the city, a local shelter partner, the chamber of commerce or another local organization. It should be a team that will be able to make ongoing updates to the list to ensure it’s as current as possible.
- Determine what information to collect. Along with property name and location, these data points are particularly helpful: what types of pets are/are not allowed, any restrictions on number of pets, breed restrictions, size or weight restrictions, amount of pet deposit if required, amount of monthly pet fees if required, and a list of pet amenities available on site. Including zip codes helps narrow geographic searches quickly. You can also include links to pet agreements or other documentation from the properties.
- Decide the best format for the information. Some cities use a spreadsheet to provide a searchable resource. Others invite community participation with a crowd-sourced online list. Still others create a physical handout like a brochure or map that can be provided to pet parents in need. Choose whatever will work best for your budget and local needs.
- Kick off the program. Contact local property owners and landlords to invite them to participate. Consider a presentation by your local shelter team to emphasize how helpful the information is for pet parents in need. Consider if the city or a local partner can offer any incentive for participation, for example mentions in social posts that spotlight the participating properties.
- Share the data. Making the registry available across the local animal welfare community will help ensure it supports your entire community. If you can put it online for use by all residents, that’s even better.
More ways cities can help
Here are additional ways cities can support those having trouble finding pet-friendly housing, either directly or through a partnership with a local shelter or business:
- Assist with the cost of pet deposits, for example through a micro loan or grant program.
- Sponsor short-term boarding while pet-friendly housing is secured.
- Sponsor behavior training to help pets succeed in rental housing.
Want more info? Check out our Pet-Friendly Housing Toolkit for best practices for cities, tools for rental property owners, and tips for pet parents who rent.