Concerned about elderly prospective tenant

2 Replies

A nice lady in her early 80's wants to rent a ranch-style apartment.  She can afford it, and though there isn't any immediate family nearby she does have cousins and nieces and nephews that live close.  She's sold her house and wants to stay in the same small town.  She drives, and she is in early stages of Parkinson's.  She wants to maintain her independence.

My concern is that if she were my mom (and we just moved my mom from a house to a subsidized apartment last year) I would want her in some sort of assisted living or at least where a trained medical person could easily check on her.

Am I being too much of a worry-wart, does anyone else have a similar experience that can offer some advice?  Thanks.

First, check your state's Fair Housing Laws. Virginia, for example, has added "elderly" as a protected class, so you could not consider her age as a factor if she is qualified otherwise. In a ground floor apartment where lawn care and maintenance items like light bulbs and filters were already provided, anyway, I likely wouldn't have an issue and respect her right to live independently unless she actually appeared ill enough to not be able to care for herself. 

As far as family nearby, that can go either way. I know someone who got her parents into a regular apartment when they couldn't handle their own home anymore, telling the landlord they were very independent and she'd be by each day checking in and caring for them, but the mom started fires leaving the stove on, the father would wander away and neighbors would bring him back, creating a nightmare where the neighbors were forced to act like assisted living staff, until the landlord threatened to call city services as they clearly needed assistance.  In her case, I think it had to do with laws about the proceeds of the sale of their home regarding receiving financial help from the government with payments for a nursing home, where she was basically trying to keep them out of a care facility until the government would pay for most of it.           

I would also check and see what your local laws are concerning how to dispose of ones things if someone were to pass while renting from you. I like to have more than one person on the lease (for all my leases, not just for the elderly) if at all possible, so there will hopefully be someone left over who can make decisions about moving things out should the other pass. 

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