Benefits of Allowing Pets in Rental Housing

You might wonder about the benefits of welcoming pets in rental housing. Here are some statistics showing the power of pets and their impact on those around them.

According to the 2017-18 American Pet Products Association (APPA) survey:

  • 81% of dog-owners say having a dog gives them companionship or love.
  • 53% say having a dog is good for their health or their family’s health.
  • 59% think of their dog as being like a child or family member.
  • 67% say having a dog relaxes them or relieves stress.
  • 68% of U.S. households have a pet.

Pets matter to people, so pets in rental housing matter:

  • The National Association of REALTORS® found that 81% of U.S. households say animal-related considerations play a role in choosing where they’ll live next.
  • A 2014 survey by found that 72% of renters were pet owners.
  • The same survey showed 9 out of 10 renters say pet policies play a deciding role in where they decide to live.
  • 74% of U.S. mayors surveyed by Mars Petcare agreed pet-friendly amenities can help rental housing improve tenant stability and reduce turnover.
  • 81% of mayors agreed that availability of pet-friendly amenities can help increase the value of residential property.
  • Humane Society research suggests renters with pets stay in their units twice as long as non-pet owners.

Pets are playing an increasingly valued role in people’s lives no matter where they live:

  • More than 84 million U.S. families now have a pet.
  • Three-quarters of pet owners said issues with the economy have had no influence on their pet ownership.
  • Three-quarters of Americans in their 30s have dogs and 51% have cats, which is significantly higher than prior generations.
  • Millennials are also reported to be delaying parenthood and choosing to be pet owners instead.
  • 76% of millennials said they’re more likely to splurge on their pet than themselves.

The health and companionship benefits of spending time with pets are widely documented:

  • Having a pet reduces blood pressure and lowers the risk of heart disease and high cholesterol. (Friedman et al 2010)
  • Numerous studies have suggested dog walking is a great way to increase physical activity and may help reduce rates of obesity. (Timperio et al 2008)
  • 94% of heart patients with pets survive serious heart attacks, compared to only 72% without pets. (Friedman et al 2010)
  • Pet owners tend to visit doctors less often and spend less money on medication. (Heady et al 2007)
  • Kids who grow up with pets tend to have greater self-esteem, less loneliness and enhanced social skills. (Purewal et al 2017)
  • Pet owners feel less afraid of being a victim of crime when walking with a dog or sharing a residence with a dog. (Serpell et al 1991)
  • The presence of dogs increases the number and length of peoples’ conversations with others in the community. (Jenkinson et al 2010)
  • Pet owners are significantly more likely to form friendships in their neighborhood than non-pet owners. (Wood et al 2015)
  • Almost 60% of dog walkers report feeling safer when walking their dog. (Christian et al 2016)

Want more info? Check out Trait 4 in the Playbook for Pet-Friendly Cities (PDF) for more about the importance of pet-friendly housing options for all families.


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