How to Make Rentals Senior Friendly

As the U.S. population ages, the demand for rental properties that cater to the unique needs of seniors is on the rise. In recent years, the burden of homeownership is something that an increasing number of retirees are opting out of. With larger numbers of renters and tenants in their golden years, the focus shifts to finding them a home that offers comfort, safety, and accessibility. In fact, rental homes that are senior-friendly are the key to maintaining a good quality of life for our aging family and community members. Whether you are a tenant looking to make senior-friendly upgrades to a rental property or a landlord wanting to appeal to this growing demographic, here are some of the best accessibility features and modifications that help seniors stay independent and help them thrive.

Accessibility and Safety Features

One of the first considerations for many senior renters is safety and accessibility. Fortunately, there are many simple modifications that can enhance safety for people with mobility issues. For example, installing handrails and grab bars in bathrooms, entryways, and other key access points can greatly increase safety when moving around the home. If stairs are an issue, adding a ramp or lift can ensure that all areas of the home remain accessible to the tenant. A further safety consideration is adding secure, easy-to-operate window and door locks. This can ensure that senior citizen tenants are able to secure their homes effectively without sacrificing easy access to the outdoors.

Planning for Aging in Place

Making a rental home senior-friendly also means thinking about how certain living spaces may not be a problem right now, but may become an issue in the future. For example, if a senior were to become dependent on a wheelchair, being able to access kitchens and storage may become an issue. Consider planning for storage options that are easily within reach, such as drawers and cabinets near the floor. If the budget permits, consider installing a walk-in shower or bathtub, or lowering countertops for easier reach. These features can be used by all household members, but can especially ensure that aging tenants can continue to enjoy their homes for many years to come.

Comfort and Convenience Enhancements

Another important consideration for a senior-friendly home is the degree of comfort and convenience the home provides. For example, it’s a good idea to assess how easy it is to reach and use thermostats and appliances in the home, and if necessary, replace them with easy-to-use models. Another great enhancement would be to integrate some of today’s best tech-based conveniences, such as voice-activated controls for fans, electronics, and lights. A video doorbell and security cameras can greatly enhance safety, while automated systems can ease concerns over water usage, electricity bills, and so on.

Legal and Financial Considerations

A big part of making a rental home senior-friendly is understanding which modifications are allowed under the law, and how to work with a landlord to make more permanent modifications. For example, both tenants and landlords need to fully understand federal fair housing laws, as well as any applicable state and local regulations. In most areas, making accommodations for seniors is permitted within certain limits. In some cases, physical modifications are paid for by the tenant; in others, the landlord may agree to cover the cost. Every situation is different, and so knowing your budget and rights can help you negotiate an agreement that will offer benefits for everyone involved.

Creating Senior-Friendly Rentals

More than anything else, a senior-friendly rental home is a home that supports a high quality of life, dignity, and respect for aging renters. While every situation is different, there are some modifications that can enhance accessibility and safety for everyone. As a tenant, you can make this case to your landlord and encourage them to prioritize the needs of their senior renters. Or, you could choose to rent a home from a company that already does! At Real Property Management, we can help you create or find a home that offers the safety and accessibility features you are looking for.

Contact your local Real Property Management office today to view senior-friendly rentals in your area.

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