Tips for accommodating older tenants

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

In 2020 we have more older tenants in the United States than ever before. This is thanks in large part to the fact that more homeowners are cashing out or selling their homes in favor of enjoying a stress free lifestyle that doesn't include the traditional hassles of home ownership.

1. Avoid unintentional discrimination.

According to the Federal Fair Housing Act of 1968, you may not purposefully or unintentionally discriminate against people based on age. That means you can’t choose a 25-year-old renter over a 75-year-old renter just because the former applicant appears healthier. Elderly tenants must be given fair consideration when all other factors are equal.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discriminatory marketing and advertising, lying about a unit’s availability, and ending or refusing a lease for age-related reasons. You don’t have to favor elderly tenants in every situation, but you can’t punish them for their age either.

2. Account for disabilities and mobility issues.

Elderly tenants with disabilities—physical or mental—are also a protected class. You can’t ask them about their issues or make decisions based on apparent disabilities.

You’re also required to make reasonable accommodations (at your expense) for tenants who have disabilities. This includes small things like allowing for service pets, installing grip rails in the shower, or building a ramp for wheelchair access. You aren’t, however, required to make structural changes to the property.

One thing you really want to be careful about is avoiding injuries on the premises of your property. By including certain features, you can provide protection against things like slips and falls. For example, including a lift chair in the living room is a nice perk that will give you and the tenant peace of mind. It’s little details like these that matter. And should a legal issue ever arise, you can show that you made every effort to accommodate your tenants.

3. Ensure the property is secure.

Another aspect of keeping tenants safe is making sure the property is secure. In fact, this goes for every property, regardless of tenant age. Some aspects to be cognizant of include outdoor lighting, good door locks, window locks, fire escapes (in multi-story apartments), renters insurance, and more.

4. Make things easy.

Don’t forget to make things a little easier on your elderly tenants. If you typically have tenants drop off rent checks at your office, but know that your tenant doesn’t drive much, come by and pick it up for them. Small gestures like this can go a long way toward keeping tenants happy.

Source - Bigger Pockets

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To learn more about things you can do to accommodate older tenants, or to speak with us about the services we can offer you, contact us today by clicking here.

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