August 7

How to fulfil your landlord obligations when renting to the elderly

Keep onside with the law and benefit from great landlord/tenant relationships

Increasing numbers of landlords are targeting the silver-haired renter for investment property profits. Pensioners and the elderly who rent are increasing in numbers. The elderly can be some of the best tenants a landlord could choose. They aren’t often criminals. They don’t have the inexperience and wild side of youth. Their pensions provide reliable and steady incomes.
However, renting to the elderly presents landlords with a unique set of issues. To fulfil your landlord obligations, you’ll need to avoid being discriminatory. You are more likely to encounter tenants with health problems such as dementia. And, in their old age, people tend to hoard more.
It may be that a tenant has been in your property for years, and has grown old with it. You may find that you haven’t reviewed your rent in line with the local market. If this is the case, you could increase your profit by encouraging the elderly tenant to leave. Doing so could put you in breach of the landlord laws.
In this article, we examine your landlord obligations towards elderly tenants, and how you can help them fulfil their promise as tenants

Avoid discrimination

Landlords are not allowed to discriminate against prospective tenants because of race, nationality, or ethnicity. Similar rules hold true for discriminating against tenants because of their age.

  • When you are advertising for tenants, you must take care that wording does not contain anything that could be construed as discriminatory.
  • You cannot say a property is unavailable when it is.
  • You cannot end a lease without just cause to do so – and age is not just cause.

To stay onside with your landlord obligations under the law, always treat all prospective tenants equally.

Dealing with tenants with disabilities

Elderly tenants are more likely to suffer from health conditions and disabilities. As a landlord, you could find yourself in a difficult position. You are not allowed to ask about disabilities, and you are not allowed to discriminate against them. Even if mental health issues become apparent, you cannot decide to end a lease on these grounds.
You may also have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to your property, at your expense, to adapt a home for a person who has a disability. For example, you may have to provide a stair lift, remove or replace furniture, adapt door bells and entry systems, etc. All such landlord obligations are included in the Equality Act 2010.

Don’t let your elderly tenant fall behind with their rent

When dealing with the elderly, it’s tempting to be a little more lenient. After all, we would hope that our parents’ landlords would do likewise. However, if you don’t take a firm line with rental payments, you will not be doing yourself or your tenant any favours.
If your elderly tenant falls behind with their rent, any aid and assistance they seek will be on finding them suitable accommodation, and not on recovering unpaid rent. If you allow any tenant to fall behind with their rent, you could put your financial situation at risk. Our investment property management services help tenants by making it easy for them to pay their rent, and our property managers chase up unpaid rent from day one.

Fight against hoarding

Hoarding is a mental disorder, and so you must take care if trying to evict for failure to maintain the property by the tenancy agreement. If hoarding becomes an issue, remember that you don’t have to put up with conditions that are unsafe and which could cause harm or injury to the tenant or any visitors. (Remember, too, to take public liability insurance as part of your landlord insurance.)

  • Document any issues you discover, and request the tenant correct the situation.
  • Take photos and videos, and document evidence during regular property inspections.
  • Work with the tenant and their family members to clean up the property, and conduct follow-up inspections.

Should you evict an elderly tenant?

If you feel the need to evict an elderly tenant, it is best to seek legal advice before starting the eviction process. However, it is always the wisest course of action to try to help the tenant before forcing eviction.
Elderly tenants can be exceptional. If you evict them, they could find it tough to find a new home. It is better to speak to the tenant, discuss issues, and find ways in which you could help them get back on track.
Ask if they have family members who you can talk to, or who could assist. Be sympathetic to their needs, and show empathy with their situation. If they would rather not involve family members, there are plenty of organisations who provide assistance to the elderly. They can help with financial problems, day-to-day needs, and mental and physical health issues.
Renting to elderly tenants can be highly rewarding. They won’t want to move, providing you create a home and landlord/tenant relationship in which they feel comfortable. They benefit from stable income, and this means you shouldn’t suffer any late rental payment problems. However, there are landlord obligations which must be met, either directly or through your investment property manager.
To discover how our investment property managers treat elderly tenants like humans, keeping them onside and you in line with your tenant obligations, get in touch with Ezytrac today on  +44  01522  503  717. You are only a phone call away from the investment property management services that could make a world of difference to your buy-to-let profitability.
Yours in effortless property management,
Brett Alegre-Wood


landlord obligations

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