A lot of landlords shy away from families with kids. They’re under the impression that children destroy houses. They want to avoid the problems that may come with a house full of kids. But what many landlords may not realize is that families with children are protected under the Federal Fair Housing Act.
As real estate blogger Amie Fisher points out, it’s against the law to set a maximum number of kids allowed in a rental (although you can limit the total number of people) or charge extra because an applicant has children. Asking price must be the same whether or not tenants have kids.
Since the law mandates that you must accept kids, why not take things a step further and turn your rental into a kid-friendly property? In doing so, you’ll actually create a selling point that will attract young families (who tend to be stable tenants).
When you’re in the market for your next property, here are some things to keep in mind:
1. School Zoning
Zoning is one of the single most important things to a family with school-aged children. They’re thinking, “Which public schools is this property zoned for and how will that affect my child’s education?”
While you might not be able to afford purchasing a rental property in the best school zones, you should avoid the worst ones at all costs. Do some research online to figure out which areas have good reputations and refine your property search from there.
2. The Neighborhood
When young families look for rentals, they tend to stick with safe neighborhoods in good parts of town. As an investor and a landlord, you have to think like them. While there’s a time for buying up cheap real estate in less-than-desirable areas, you won’t have a lot of success renting these properties to families.
Put yourself in your ideal renter’s shoes. Think about how they would look for a property. Check out the best neighborhoods and keep an eye out for properties you think may be good investments.
3. The Yard
The yard is one of the most important aspects of a property when you’re marketing to families with young kids. There’s only so much a kid can do inside the house. A nice big backyard with plenty of room to play is very attractive to renters.
If you can find a property with an outdoor play set – or install one yourself – it adds a nice touch. But a fence is even more important than a play set. Security and privacy are important to renters, and parents want to feel like they can let their kids outside to play without having to watch them like a hawk.
If you’re tempted to buy a rental property with a pool, use discretion. Pools are a pain in the rear when it comes maintenance, and it may not be something you’ll want to deal with.
4. A Bonus Room
If you have a young child, you know just how important it is to have a separate space for them to play with toys and make a mess. When investing in a rental property, keep an eye out for properties that have bonus rooms. A bonus room is a space that isn’t considered a bedroom, but serves as additional living space.
Invest in Kid-Friendly Properties
There are plenty of families in the rental market who are not quite ready to buy a home, but need a house that will allow them to raise their family for a period of time. Cramped, one-bedroom apartments won’t do the trick. If you want to appeal to this growing segment of renters, consider investing in some child-friendly properties.
How have you made your properties more attractive to families?
Tell me how in the comments section below!