If you’re operating as a landlord in Katy, you have to make your rental property(ies) a great place to live. That requires special consideration for tenants of all ages and circumstances.
For example, if you want to appeal to millennial renters, you’ll have to make your facilities more technologically connected; with pet lovers, you’ll ensure there’s a space for pets to run and do their business, which may mean adding one.
Among elderly renters, requirements will be a little more complex. There are some specific challenges, but as demographics shift further in that direction, such criteria will become increasingly valid.
It used to be that young Americans made up the majority of renters, but things are shifting in our rental nation. According to research from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, there has been a major increase in the number of people who rent in the U.S. over the past 11 years.
Americans in their 50s and 60s make up the largest portion of the increase. There are roughly 4.3 million more senior renters now than there were in 2005.
More and more folks are retiring from their large family homes with the intention of renting for the rest of their lives. That choice can more flexible and enables those with bad credit to get out of debt and avoid the challenges of owning.
The research indicates that you’re likely to see more elderly renters in the next few years. There are many benefits to renting to this group, but you may also encounter challenges.
If you understand both, you have a better shot at a successful landlord career. Here are a few things you should keep in mind.
- Certain Laws Apply
You may not know it, but certain laws apply when you rent to seniors. The laws will vary by state, but federal laws — the anti-discrimination law in particular — are strictly enforced all over the nation.
It’s against U.S. law to discriminate in matters of housing on the basis of age, disability, familial status, religion, color, ethnicity, race, creed, sex, and sexual orientation. For that reason, you will not be able to evict or deny a housing application to a tenant based on age or certain disabilities alone, even if that makes your life more difficult.
If you have an elderly tenant who is on Social Security or other government assistance, there may be certain housing restrictions that apply as well. It’s important to understand how these laws may affect you and your tenant before signing a lease agreement.
- Keep It Pet Friendly
You can guarantee that at least some of your elderly or disabled tenants will have pets, whether to assist them physically or provide emotional comfort. Even if you don’t allow pets in your apartments, tenants with a legal disability may file paperwork that allows them to bring in a service animal.
Don’t try to fight this. Instead, lay out certain parameters for keeping a pet clean and quiet, and provide special areas where animals can do their business and go for walks.
- Have a Few Numbers to Call
When you rent to a senior citizen, you should obtain more contact information than just the tenant’s. If he or she has family nearby, keep those persons’ phone numbers and email addresses in your records in case of an emergency. If there’s no family, get the number of the tenant’s doctor or a nearby clinic so you can notify useful medical personnel who can help in the case of a mishap.
- Use Old-School Communication
Although the elder generations are becoming more technologically savvy, chances are you’ll still have a few renters who don’t check their email or hang out on social media where they’ll see updates from your office.
For the benefit of these tenants, keep old-school lines of communication in place, such as a simple phone call or a newsletter taped to their door. It’s worthwhile to make your elderly tenants feel they’re a part of the community, even though they may have different needs than the other renters.
- Boost Your Safety Measures
Your property should meet property safety requirements to ensure the safety of elders. Working elevators, accessibility ramps, handrails on staircases, security cameras, and strong locks would all be useful, even vital, to your elderly tenants.
Many senior renters aren’t as strong as they used to be. Without proper safety measures, they could fall and get injured on your property, which would make you liable for damages.
- Don’t Be So Quick to Evict
No doubt there will come a time when you’ll have to make a tough judgment call about possible eviction of an elderly tenant. Such factors as consistently late payments, damage to property, or neighbor disturbances might arise with your elderly tenants, which gives you grounds to evict them.
However, don’t be hasty with this one. Sometimes there’s more to the story than meets the eye, and if you approach with compassion and an open mind, you might be able to resolve the issue without dumping a little old lady on the street.
Start by seeking the cause. If payments are often late, approach your elderly tenant and find out what the problem is. This might be a case of forgetfulness, in which case setting up automatic deposit could easily and permanently solve the issue.
If the problem is damage to your property, determine whether it was accidental or intentional. Rather than evict immediately, assess the cost and see if the tenant or his or her family would be willing to pay for repairs rather than face eviction.
- Deal with Eviction the Right Way
When you’ve assessed the situation, made any reasonable accommodations, and implemented alternatives, but eviction still seems inevitable, make sure you adhere to any laws and regulations with regard evicting an elderly tenant. Go over the situation with your attorney and ensure you’re in the right before proceeding.
Evicting any tenant without following proper procedures could result in a hefty lawsuit.
Let Green Residential Handle Your Elderly Tenants
There’s a lot that goes into administering proper care and attention to your elderly tenants, and it can be daunting. The property management team at Green Residential in Katy can help.
With our tenant screening, rent collection, eviction services, and 24-hour support line, you won’t have to worry about a thing. For more information about the services we provide, contact us today!