Agony Aunt: should I rent to older tenants?

Each week, we answer a reader’s question about renting their properties – from first-time landlords needing pointers about contracts to experienced owners with technical queries. Aunt Agatha, Rentify’s agony aunt, is here to help!

 

Q: I’m thinking of renting to older tenants rather than targeting young professionals like everyone else. Good idea? 


A: An excellent idea! The rental market is no longer just for young people yet to get on the property ladder. More and more mature professionals and retirees are turning to rentals both from force of circumstance and as an active lifestyle choice.

Older tenants tend to be have a more stable income based on a lifetime of savings and investments, and are generally more interested in a long-term rental (and may well prove more responsible).

Recent research by the Countrywide Residential Lettings Index showed that 41-50 year olds now comprise 16% of the rental market. And around 25% of retirees live in rented accommodation, according to Prudential Insurance, as many sell their home to release the equity. And with an ageing population, these numbers are unlikely to go anywhere but up.

However, if you’re planning on taking advantage of this trend, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Pick the right area
    Older tenants will probably want somewhere fairly quiet, but with particular services nearby. Long-distance travel links may not be so important but local buses and trains should be nearby. Security will be paramount, as will easy access to shops and, for the elderly, access to neighbours
  2. Buy the right property
    Retirees will be concerned about staircases and room size. Is there space to convert a downstairs room into a bedroom if it becomes necessary? Could a stairlift be installed? And would you allow these things? A good-sized garden may well be a plus but if it’s too large it could be a bit intimidating.
  3. Advertise strategically
    Advertise in the right places for your audience. If you want to let your property to older tenants, cover the old fashioned ways (local newspapers and agents, for example) as well as online. And make the most of the features that will appeal to them: peace and quiet, security, safety and nearby local services.
  4. Be reliable
    Older tenants will have a particular desire for their landlord to be approachable and hands-on during their tenancy. They will be much less willing than younger tenants to put up with any discomfort or disruption that may occur during the tenancy. But look after them and they will be around for longer, making your life easier.
  5. Maintain your property, properly
    Older renters and parents are a more switched-on and savvy rental group. They will expect everything to be good quality and safe (and they should know what to check). They’re probably looking to settle down for a while so won’t be inclined take a risk on something they are unsure about. Make sure everything is in safe working order, inside and out.

Rentify is an online letting agent for landlords, established in 2012. Learn more about our services here. You may contact the editor of this story at editor@rentify.com.

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