Statistics have shown that the size of the rental market has been steadily increasing, much in part to the number of Baby Boomers renting smaller homes and apartments in response to limited retirement incomes and empty nests.
Coming from a generation of homeowners, many Baby Boomers may be renting for the first time in decades, unaware of just how much renting differs from owning a home.
If this is your situation, the following are four key things that you should remember.
1. Get everything in writing.
In addition to a lease, every time the landlord promises to do something, have it written down and signed. Such promises may change the terms of your lease, and such proof may protect you in the event that something goes wrong.
2. Renegotiate your lease.
When leases end, they often become month-to-month, and sometimes include clauses that allow a landlord to raise the rent. Never let a lease run out unless you plan to move. Instead, negotiate with your landlord to minimize any rent hikes.
3. Discrimination is illegal.
Except in certain age-restricted communities, a landlord may not discriminate against you on the basis of age. And, in general, you cannot be denied a unit because of your income source, such as a pension or social security.
4. Don't fix things you didn't break.
Because you don't own a rental unit, it is not your responsibility to make repairs unless it was your negligence that caused damage. Report damage in writing to your landlord and allow a reasonable amount of time for repairs.
In addition to the above, Baby Boomers renting should always remember to exercise a bit of common sense. If something seems wrong, it very well may be.