Elderly individuals typically make fantastic tenants. The loud music, parties, unpredictable incomes and sketchy activities associated with youth are probably well behind them. That being said, they do typically have unique needs when it comes to occupying a property.
Fair Housing Act & Eviction Procedure
You might pride yourself of being the “hip” apartment catered to mostly young individuals, but that should not defer a prospective elderly tenant from applying at your complex. The Federal Fair Housing Act of 1968 ensures no discrimination will take place on the basis of age. In fact, your property marketing can’t even include statements that utilize discriminatory language on the basis of age, race, or gender. The practices of lying to or misleading elderly tenants into believing that a unit is “not available” or that there are “extra requirements” in place are also HIGHLY prohibited.
These practices are exactly the reason many local and state governments have provided extra legal protection for the elderly. With this extra protection comes complications when you actually need to evict an elderly individual for a violation of community guidelines. The best practice, in this case, is to lawyer up. Depending on the circumstances, it may also do you a favor to provide your elderly tenant with resources that assist their living needs such as support programs, charities, etc.
Whether it is mental or physical health, you are not allowed under any circumstances to discriminate tenants with disabilities. Even in the most apparent of circumstances regarding their disability, you may not ask a prospective tenant about it or keep them from renting at your property. Furthermore, to get housing permits as community housing you are required to accommodate handicapped guests. This means preparations at the community’s expense in the form of handicapped parking, grip rails, wheelchair ramps, and allowing service animals.
Rent & Support
After retirement, not every elderly tenant has a nest egg waiting for them. If health issues arise, medical expenses can be costly to retired individuals. With this in mind and goodwill towards our elderly and sick, we should pay close attention to their needs. As a housing representative, don’t let elderly tenants fall behind in their rent payments. There are numerous charities, churches, and programs in place that can assist them in meeting monthly rent. In some circumstances, rent due dates can be changed to accommodate social security or pensions payments.
A fair amount of attention should be given to elderly tenant’s rent properties. They may have trouble with tasks like a simple light bulb or air filter change or need help maintaining other aspects of the property. Hoarding is a prevalent occurrence amongst the elderly generation. It is classified as a clinical disorder under the Fair Housing Act but tenants are still obligated to protect the rental property from damage. Hoarding can result in fire code violations, rodent infestation, and potential health hazards. The best plan of action in the case of hoarding is to create an organized plan with the tenant and their family members.
At the end of the day, it is not only our job as housing representatives to take care of our rental properties but to ultimately treat your tenants with the respect and dignity they deserve.