Senior tenants are seen as the country’s next generation of renters, thanks to less physical labour, better nutrition, higher life expectancies, and a decline in birth rates.
According to the Report on Housing Needs of Seniors, “Seniors (those 65 years of age and over) are the fastest growing age group in Canada. In 2016, there were 5,935,635 seniors, who represented 16.9% of the total population in Canada and this percentage is expected to increase to 24% by 2036.
The 2016 Census reported that 93.2% of seniors lived in private dwellings (house, apartment or moveable dwelling) while 6.8% lived in collective dwellings, such as residences for senior citizens, long-term care (LTC) facilities or health care related facilities.
Approximately 25% of Canadian households are led by people over the age of 65 years, 75% of these households are owned and 25% rent accommodation. The largest proportion of these senior-led households are couples without children; the second largest group is single women. In 2016, 2.2 million Canadians lived in multigenerational housing, 349,350 of whom were aged 65 and over.
Housing moves by seniors can be characterized as either “lifestyle,” “planned,” or “crisis,” each of which is typically underpinned by a number of “push” (for example, death of a spouse) or “pull” factors (for example. a desire to be closer to children and grandchildren). Seniors are less likely to move than the general population. In 2016 only 5.5% of seniors 65 to 74 years old and 4.7% of those 75 years and older had moved compared to 13.0 % of the general population in the previous year. Seniors who are widows and those who are divorced or separated are more likely to move. Seniors who are renting their homes are twice as likely to move compared to seniors who are homeowners (14% versus 7% respectively).”
Renting to seniors presents a new opportunity for property owners to explore the demand for senior-friendly rental homes.
Active Adults may have recently retired but are still dynamic and agile despite age. May adults in this demographic prefer renting single-family homes, condos, apartments, and townhouses while maintaining their independence.
The solution is an Age-Friendly Community (AFC) where the physical and social aspects improve the health and well-being of older adults.
Age-Friendly Communities support active aging and aging in place, creating age-friendly spaces and environments.
Age-targeted communities are not age restrictive (such as seniors or 55+ only) and can be marketed towards senior tenants. Renting is preferable to 25% of the senior population for various reasons.
Advantages of Renting for Senior Tenants
For many adults aged 65, earnings decrease, and many live on Social Security benefits. These limited resources make it impractical to pay a mortgage and property taxes and afford routine maintenance and damage repair.
Once children leave home, elderly adults look to downsize to apartments/condos/townhouses and use their savings to invest in travel or other hobbies.
Older adults may also choose to live in smaller spaces to bypass navigating large distances and avoid climbing stairs, which lessens the chances of injuries from falls.
Knowing the potential opportunities to expand your tenant base to seniors can help boost your rental portfolio.
Advantages for Landlords
Since retirement lifestyles usually accompany a slower pace of life, landlords can expect less wear and tear on their rental property, consistent demand for senior-friendly accommodations, and low vacancy rates. Once settled in, seniors are more inclined to stay than younger demographics.
How To Make Your Property Senior-Friendly
What’s the key to attracting seniors to your rental? Safety. Safeguarding a rental property for older adults doesn’t have to break the bank; there are a few simple ways to make your property safer for tenants of all ages.
Ensure high-risk areas such as hallways, stairwells, and bathrooms are well lit and that multiple switches enable tenants to turn them on from different locations.
Level the Playing Field
Ensure the floors and carpeted areas are even to minimize the risk of accidents and injuries.
Doorknobs and Handles
Levered door handles are easier to grip for seniors, and wider cabinet door handles make kitchen areas more accessible.
In case of an emergency, having an emergency contact helps you get in touch with family, friends, or a family doctor quickly.
High Tech vs. Low Tech
Although Smart Homes are taking the world by storm, senior tenants may not be tech-savvy. The same holds for payment methods; it’s good practice to have options seniors are comfortable with and to discuss when they can pay. Social security and pension payments may not arrive on the 1st of the month.
Pets bring older adults’ comfort and companionship; in their golden years, senior tenants do not want to be separated from their pets. Making your rental pet-friendly can increase your rental market to include seniors.
The senior tenant market creates a unique opportunity to grow your rental business. Slight modifications can make existing properties senior-friendly, providing a steady stream of long-term tenants who take care of your property for years to come.
Do you cater to senior tenants or are you considering making your rentals senior-friendly? I’d love to hear about it [email protected]
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