Big dog? No problem. This rental company is bringing peace-of-mind to pet parents

Traci and her dogs with Kelli from Ideal Properties

From left: Traci Cahill, her dogs Ava and Rosie, and Kelli Johanson with her beloved pooch Marley.

Traci Cahill was losing sleep. She and her two Mastiffs, Rosie and Ava, had been renting an acquaintance’s house for the past two years. But she’d recently gotten word that the homeowner wished to return to the Twin Cities as soon as possible. Finding a rental in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area that could accommodate dogs was proving difficult.

The search for pet-friendly rental housing

Over and over, Traci ran into restrictions. Many rentals had 30 lb. weight limits for pets (Rosie and Ava weigh more than 160 pounds each!). Some rentals had Mastiff breed bans. Others were listed as pet-friendly — until you read the fine print. “Even when they said pet-friendly, they usually meant cat-friendly,” Traci says.

After several months of looking, she’d begun to give up hope. “I started looking at buying a camper thinking I might have to camp out for a few months,” she says. Then one day, she decided to check for rental resources on Animal Humane Society’s website.

The first link she saw on our Pet Friendly Housing page was for Ideal Property Investments. Scrolling through the listings, Traci noticed a 1950s Maplewood home that was the right size and, most importantly, featured a large fenced-in yard for Rosie and Ava. She called Ideal Property Investments and spoke with the owner, Kelli Johanson. After learning what Traci was looking for, Kelli thought the Maplewood property would be a perfect fit and Traci’s Mastiffs were no problem! In Kelli’s eyes, the bigger the dog, the better. Traci moved in less than a month later.

Mastiff dog playing in yard

Responsible pet owners make responsible tenants

Kelli doesn’t just consider herself an animal lover. She’s a self-described pet fanatic, a love that grew deeper when she adopted her Pit Bull, Marley, from Animal Humane Society. “Pets bring us so much joy,” she says. “The world would be a lot better place if we could always have our pets with us.” Marley accompanies Kelli almost everywhere, and she runs her business with other pet parents in mind.

After years in the property management industry, Kelli noticed how uncommon it was for rentals to allow animals. When the Iowa native opened her own company, she decided to advocate for pet-friendly housing. Ideal Property Investments now manages nearly 50 rental properties that allow furry friends.

In order to convert more buildings into animal-friendly rentals, Kelli educates property owners on the benefits of pet ownership and the stereotypes surrounding bully breeds. She also reassures them that any issues that should arise (property damage is a common concern) is manageable and could occur with or without pets in the unit. “People are thinking about the bottom line, turnover, and costs,” Kelli says. “My goal is to educate them that it’s about the person.” Responsible pet owners, she reasons, also make responsible tenants.

One of Kelli’s biggest accomplishments was assuming management of a 15-unit, pet-friendly property in Uptown. The owners worked with her to make the building animal-friendly at an affordable cost. She dreams of one day building a pet-centric apartment complex from the ground up named “The Marley” after her beloved pup. The Marley would include everything from pre-built wash areas to doggie daycare and a concierge service for animals. “People would be able to work and travel without sacrificing pet ownership,” says Kelli.

Peace-of-mind for pet parents

Providing pet owners like Traci with peace-of-mind living is one of Kelli’s greatest joys, a passion only reinforced by the advent of COVID-19. “During this time, everything is so emotionally volatile and pets make everything so much better. You can open your heart and be accepted for who you are,” she says. Making their tenants feel accepted, pets and all, is what Ideal Property Investments is all about.

And it’s clear that a weight has been lifted from Traci’s shoulders since the move. Sitting in her new shaded backyard as Rosie and Ava play nearby, she says, “If you make a home in a space and you’re able to feel comfortable, there’s no reason to leave.”



Ideal Property Investments is a proud sponsor of Animal Humane Society’s Whisker Whirl gala. Visit their website to find pet-friendly housing.

For caring, compassionate advice and resources to address all your animal concerns.

Contact the Pet Helpline