Now more than ever you’re likely hearing more and more landlords talk about pet-friendly offices. If an office building owner is interested in making their building dog friendly and allowing tenants to bring their dogs to work, what should they take into consideration? To help you determine if this commercial property amenity is right for you, Price Commercial Management has laid out both the risks and rewards of a pet-friendly office.
Rewards of a Pet-Friendly Office
As a landlord, you’re always looking for ways to increase your tenancy rates and generate additional income. If you’re considering creating a dog-friendly environment at your building, you may experience the following benefits.
Although this advantage doesn’t impact you directly, it indirectly impacts both your tenant satisfaction and lease renewals. As a commercial landlord, your goal is to keep your tenants satisfied so that when their lease is up, they choose to continue their operations in your building. Part of this equation comes down to your tenants being able to attract and retain employees that allow them to be successful and cultivate an appealing culture.
Nowadays, companies need an abundance of perks to stand out to prospective employees — and one of these perks is often a pet-friendly workplace because of its mental health benefits. This perk can be a major differentiator for your tenants in an overly saturated market, making them happy with the talent they are hiring — and less likely to want to give up the incredible employee perk!
It’s hard to take away a sought-after amenity once it’s already been given to a company’s employees. Because tenants within your property will have created a dog-friendly work environment that their employees love, they won’t want to take that away. If they were to move offices, there’s a chance the new commercial property won’t allow pets. To avoid unnecessary turnover with their employees, many companies will opt to maintain their positive company culture — which starts with staying put in their current location. Allowing pets in your building can help increase your lease renewals.
Although allowing pets has many perks, it’s not an amenity that is commonly found across various commercial properties. If tenants are looking for additional perks that will allow them to retain and attract the best talent, then having a dog-friendly community can do just that. Because dog-friendly spaces are hard to come by, you automatically become a contender for those tenants looking for this type of building amenity.
Risks of a Pet-Friendly Office
Whereas dogs may provide many benefits to tenants of the space, their presence may also pose hazards and risks. Before deciding if a dog-friendly environment is something you want your property team managing, consider the following risks of pet-friendly offices.
While allowing dogs at your commercial property may be a big appeal for a select group of people, there may also be tenants who are allergic to dogs. If you’re considering making your space pet-friendly, you may also want to designate an area as pet-free to make all of the building’s employees comfortable.
Similar to allergies, some individuals have a fear of dogs. This can make working in an environment that allows pets unbearable and cause strain on their mental health. As a result, your tenants second guess their lease if their employees don’t feel comfortable coming to work every day.
Exception for Service Animals
You may know that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires businesses to make reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities however, you may not be aware that the ADA regulations regarding certain animals were amended in 2010. This amendment to the ADA regulations clarifies that businesses must modify their policies, practices, and procedures to permit use of a service animal by an individual with a disability.
Businesses are required to allow individuals with disabilities and the service animal anywhere that is open to the businesses customers without disabilities, regardless of whether other customers or employees are afraid of dogs or have dog allergies. If you still have questions about how to comply with the ADA, it can be helpful to speak with a lawyer.
Deciding you want to start allowing pets in the office isn’t as simple as declaring it. First, you must consider all legal obstacles and ensure that you are covered through your insurance. Even the best-trained dog may find themselves in a situation where they feel provoked — and not every dog entering your building is going to be the best-trained dog. With pets in the workplace, you run the risk of having the dog cause injury to other dogs or individuals. To cover yourself, you need adequate insurance that enables you to have pets in the building — which usually comes as a premium.
Owners should make sure that there are no local laws—such as health codes—that would prohibit establishing a dog-friendly property.
Office building owners desiring dog-friendly properties should develop specific rules pertaining to pet dogs in the office and include them as an exhibit in each lease. Before welcoming dogs into the building, consider where pets will be allowed to relieve themselves as to not disturb other tenants. Will you provide sanitation stations with doggie bags? What are the rules surrounding pet incidents in the common spaces of the building? How will you monitor the pets’ vaccination records? Will you require individuals to have insurance for their dogs to cover any incidents and injuries that occur on the property?
Once you’ve narrowed down your building-specific pet policy, make sure it’s clearly displayed throughout the building. Every individual who plans on bringing their pet into the building should be required to sign the policy, agreeing to your terms and conditions. Additionally, you’ll likely need to add a pet clause to your commercial lease agreement.
Ready to Implement a Pet-Friendly Office Policy?
If you’re considering allowing pets at your commercial property, it can be helpful to entrust a property management company to walk you through the process. Price Commercial Management team works in conjunction with you as an extension of your organization, ensuring that all business decisions will benefit you and your bottom line.
Our property managers can help draft pet clauses for your lease agreement, as well as make the necessary updates to your property to accommodate your new four-legged friends. Contact Price Commercial Management for a free quote and consultation to optimize your property management based on your needs.