Unauthorized Pets Pose Problems, Technology Might Provide the Solution

Potential fraud related to Emotional Service Animals have been hogging the animal-related headlines in the apartment world over the last few years, but unauthorized pets continue to pose a large, and growing, problem for managers. From an article on NAA’s blog:

This often occurs when pet-free residents acquire a pet, pet sit or have pet visitors after initial move-in and do not report the pet activity to the community. With the rising popularity of gig economy businesses related to pet care, such as Rover and Wag!, more residents engage in some form of pet activity. To them, it might be ambiguous whether an animal they bring onsite is considered to be a pet at the community, if only temporarily.

The solution could be adopting technology that allows for pet screening up front instead of pet reporting policies:

For example, if Jason from 201-B adopts or pet-sits a dog that ends up biting a resident, the victim won’t take long to question the dog’s presence at the community.

Even if Jason’s dog is as sweet as can be and schmoozes nearby residents into becoming regular treat dispensers, the community is losing revenue. Jason certainly isn’t paying pet rent if he acquired the dog after his move-in date and never reported it and the dog might not comply with community regulations. Apartment operators often leave money on the table and increase their risk when pet-free residents such as this one end up acquiring a pet. The leasing team is often focused on other areas of business and are unable to stop and validate each dog they see during the course of their day.

Encouragingly, innovative solutions from third-party providers such as PetScreening.com, offer a way to close this loophole by requiring all residents – even those without pets – to acknowledge pet policies line-by-line during the application process. Pet owners set up an account and enter their pet’s medical and behavioral history for a small annual fee, enabling the community to have more visibility into their pet population and report any future incidents to a centralized database. Pet-free residents set up a free profile that requires them to report any new pet activity.

You can read the full article here.