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3 Things to Keep in Mind When Renting to Elderly Tenants

It’s difficult for anyone to prepare for something they haven’t experienced, but if you’re planning on renting to the elderly you should get out your crystal ball to look into the future because you will likely live to be elderly. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 10,000 people turn 65 every day in the United States, and people live longer healthier lives.

The oldest and wisest among us look for housing that accommodates their lifestyle. Homeownership is not as important as it was in the past, and elderly people experience a shift in perspective that’s leading them to consider a renter lifestyle. This ever-increasing population comprises some of the best tenants. The use of an online rental application service can help you find the best of the best. They’re often financially and socially very responsible. However, renting to the elderly can pose some unique issues that you should consider. It’s beneficial for landlords to keep these three things in mind when renting to the elderly:

Elderly Tenants and Age Discrimination

You can’t discriminate on the basis of age when looking for potential renters. The Federal Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibits this.  Landlords must treat prospective tenants in an equal manner.

  • You can’t use discriminatory words when advertising or marketing for tenants.
  • When a property is available, you can’t say it is unavailable.
  • You’re not allowed to use age as a basis to refuse to renew or end a lease because of discriminatory reasons.

Disabled Elderly Tenants

You must be aware that many elderly people are disabled, and they have certain protections as renters. The Federal Fair Housing Act and the Fair Housing Amendments Act prohibit discrimination against people who have disabilities.

  • You can’t ask if a potential tenant is disabled or ill.
  • You may have to provide your renter with accommodations at the your expense.
  • You may have to allow your tenant to make reasonable modifications to your living unit at your expense.

Why Elderly People Want to Rent

There are many reasons that the elderly want to rent instead of own a home. All of it boils down to convenience, freedom, and independence. They want a life made easier in their golden years. Who wouldn’t want that?

  • Elderly renters don’t want the worry and cost of paying for and maintaining a larger home. Downsizing, no property taxes, and no physical maintenance all appeal to the elderly.
  • They like a flexible lifestyle that renting affords them. Renting gives them the opportunity to move without all of the stress of selling a home and the ability to travel without leaving a house unattended.
  • Elderly renters like to be in close proximity to family, friends and social experiences. They also worry about access to quality medical care in the area and the ease of acquiring necessities.   

Renter demographics change and landlords face challenges to accommodate the growing elderly population. These challenges also present great opportunities for landlords. There is a growing trend toward a specialization in providing great rental experiences for the elderly. The over-55 communities in Brisbane, Australia, have incorporated the needs of the elderly into a lifestyle experience that elderly people seek. Similar models of catering to the needs of the elderly caught on in many places around the world. It’s important that you know the laws and know your client, so you can have a successful rental business.

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