Renter’s Perspective: All There Is to Know About Renting in Retirement

Information to help your older residents feel comfortable in the renting process.

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With greater flexibility for moving, lower overall costs, and less maintenance and repairs, it’s easy to see why many seniors decide to downsize their homes and adopt the renter lifestyle. This seems to be a growing trend among the older baby boomers who want to retire either in larger, more active cities, or have the flexibility to try out different locations for retirement.

For many, this means a return to a world of renting that is completely different than what it was years ago, while for others, it might be a completely new experience. While the industry has evolved towards comfort and efficiency, there are many aspects seniors need to know and be aware of to find and enjoy their new homes safely and securely. This new guide from  written for senior renters encompasses all the information your residents or prospective residents need to know.

Where and how to look for an apartment?

Today, many steps in the process of finding an apartment take place online. Thanks to the internet, prospective renters now have access to a wide variety of rentals and renting information, which they can filter and browse through according to their needs. For those who are new to online apartment hunting, property websites or platforms with 100% verified listings like are the safest option to reduce the risk of running into a rental scam, and to get the reassurance that all the property details, availability and pricing information are coming directly from property managers and are up to date and reliable. Moreover, they can experience the convenience of filtering by what’s important to them—favorite locations, amenities, parking— or reading the reviews left by other residents. They can also submit all of the required documents and complete an application for lease online.

For many who are unfamiliar with the renting world, the process can be overwhelming. That is why you can encourage your prospective senior renters to create a list of their wants and needs and prioritize. For instance, an apartment on the ground or first floor could be a priority, especially if the building does not have an elevator. Other specific apartment amenities include modern finishes and efficient appliances. There are also many smart solutions they might be interested in, such as a smart thermostat or a smart doorbell.

Some senior renters might require safety features such as grab bars in the bathroom, anti-slip floors and showers, level door handles, and additional lighting. In terms of community amenities, common areas that provide an option for exercise and socializing might be attractive to active seniors, such as a gym, a tennis or basketball court, a pool, or a social lounge.  

What should you discuss with your prospective senior renters?

It’s best to cover upfront all the details that they find important and clear everything up to make sure you are both on the same page. Discuss issues specific to their situation, including:

  • The security deposit and clauses for refunds
  • The cost of rent, due date, and method of payment (for instance, the rent due date might be important so that it aligns with their finances)
  • All additional fees
  • Utilities and their average costs
  • How are maintenance requests handled
  • Specific penalties that might apply
  • Modifications that should be done before move-in, for their safety

What legal aspects should you consider?

There is state and local legislation to protect senior renters. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on age. Also, there are other types of legal protections, such as a Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption, to protect them against rent increases, which applies in certain situations only. These can differ from one state to another, or even from city to city.

If a prospective renter has a service or emotional support animal, they typically do not classify as pets, and as such no additional fees or restrictions can be imposed upon them. Although you might not be able to ask about specifics, you are within your right to request an official document proving that the animal is a qualified professional.

Knowing what the needs of senior renters are can help you clear everything up before signing a lease, so that you and your tenants are on the same page. Share RentCafe’s Ultimate Guide for Senior Renters on your property website for more information, tips, and advice on how to make the best of renting in retirement for your prospective and current residents.

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