The current generation of people approaching retirement age is the largest to ever retire. Many are looking to downsize from their large homes or are eager to move around and experience life in different cities during retirement. Older renters represent an exciting and growing demographic of potential tenants.
Table of Contents - How to Appeal to Older Renters
If you want to appeal to this growing group, be prepared to have your properties and rental experiences meet their standards. Not only do you need to create a desirable living space for their needs, but there are also housing regulations specific to seniors that you need to consider. Here’s what you need to know about renting to older tenants.
Seniors are exploring their options
In Canada, senior citizens have several housing options, including in-home assistance in their own homes. Regulations vary from province to province, so be sure that you’re doing your research based on where your properties are so that you can ensure you comply. Senior citizens in Canada can apply for case managers (with no referral necessary) once they think they’re starting to have trouble managing living on their own. Their children are also empowered to contact these same services on their behalf.
Demonstrate that you are familiar with these accommodations and that your property is conducive to assisted living situations. Tenants will feel more confident in you as a prospective landlord if you are familiar with similar situations to theirs and well-versed in the necessary rules and regulations that can help make their stay a more comfortable one.
Many seniors find themselves with limited mobility in their later years, raising their risk of accidental injuries. Make sure your properties are in tip-top shape and have all necessary safety equipment readily available. Icy sidewalks can be a big culprit, for example, so make sure that all handrails on your property are secured and that the agreement includes a plan for shovelling and salting after bad weather. A huge sell would be having ramps and stairlifts in place to help tenants navigate multi-floor properties.
Safety is one of the biggest factors that older tenants factor into their renting decision, so you do not want to skimp on these criteria. You should also consider having security cameras and panic buttons in place to further help in easing their safety concerns.
Don’t forget the furry friends
Many older adults, especially those living alone, have beloved furry, feathered or finned friends. It could be in your best interest to make your residences pet-friendly if you are hoping to appeal to older renters. You are always at risk of eliminating a huge chunk of prospective tenants if you do not allow pets in your properties, and that is especially true in the older demographics.
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If you’re still wary, you can handle pets on a case-by-case basis. Include language in the agreement requiring owners to pick up after their dogs. You can also limit the number of pets that a tenant can have to prevent more unofficial tenants. Being empathetic to the fact that many elderly folks have pet companions can go a long way towards making you a more appealing landlord. Oftentimes, they have formed incredibly close bonds with their cats, dogs and other pets, and if you are amenable to these meaningful connections you will open many doors with potential elderly tenants.
Elderly tenants might have economic situations that are more in flux than you are used to from other renters. They are likely on fixed incomes in retirement, but their expenses vary just like anyone else’s. There might be months where they are a few days late with their rent due to events that are out of their control. It’s in your best interest to work with them and be flexible with their situations. Evicting an elderly tenant is one of the last things you should consider. Understanding and compassion are vital, especially when you remember that they might be forgetful as they age and can simply need gentle reminders for certain issues. There can always be more to the story than meets the eye.
You will do wonders for your reputation within that community if you are sympathetic. It’s also just good business sense as well. Finding a new tenant is far more costly and time-consuming than working with an existing one, so be patient and it will pay considerable dividends.
Convenience is key
Elderly tenants typically want rental accommodations that are located in spots that are close to a lot of amenities. They might not want to drive or may not be able to anymore. If you are considering renting to the senior market, look for properties that are near grocery stores, convenience stores, medical facilities and pharmacies. Those last two are ones that seniors, in particular, are likely to need regularly. Also make sure that your properties are in safe areas that are well-lit and busy with foot traffic, as safety is one of the most important things senior tenants consider. Remembering the first rule of real estate will help you in appealing to elderly tenants.
Renting to elderly tenants is a sound business decision for many property owners. It might require some additional research in terms of safety recommendations, location and curb appeal, but in the end, you can wind up with some of the kindest and most responsible tenants you could ever want.
The extra work will prove to be well worth it once it’s all said and done. Elderly tenants are also eligible for assistance programs that can make them self-sufficient, if not more so, than any of your other tenants in your other properties. They certainly require additional accommodations in some respects, but so too does every renting demographic. Empathy, patience and understanding are going to be some of your greatest attributes when working with these tenants.
Niche Marketing - Working with Seniors featuring Barry Lebow
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