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What to Keep in Mind When Renting to Military Members

Due to the nature of their job, military members are often coming in and out of an area with little time to put down roots and settle down.

This way of life often means that military members are always looking to rent.

Thankfully, many members of the military make great tenants. If you find yourself considering a member of the military as a potential tenant, or you want to market your home to military members, keep these three things in mind as you move forward.


1. Prepare for Special Needs
Due to years the increased activity of the military in recent years, more service members need housing that can accommodate disabilities and special needs.

Remember, fair housing laws don't allow you to deny anyone based on their disability.

As a property manager, you need to make reasonable accommodations for a tenant with special needs, such as:

  • Service animals: a military member may have a service animal helping them with a variety of disorders or disabilities. Regardless of your pet policy, service animals must be allowed.
  • Wheelchair access: those in wheelchairs or who use a prosthetic will need to live in a place that provides assistance with their more limited mobility.

2. Provide Lease Flexibility
When renting to an active duty military member, be aware that they can receive orders to move or deploy anytime of the year and with short notice.

Savvy members of the military will check the lease for a clause that allows them to terminate early.

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) allows military members to terminate a lease agreement if they are deployed or reassigned for more than 90 days; adding this terminology to your lease can give you an advantage over other property managers.

Offering flexible lease options such as seven month, ten month, or even fifteen month leases allows military renters to know that they have options with your property, and you understand their needs.

Some members wait for on-base housing and will hesitate to sign a strict 12-month lease if they believe they can get a better deal with the military; expand your options to entice those in the military to choose your property over others.


3. Keep a Well Maintained Property
When a member of the military goes overseas or simply out-of-state for training, their family is always on their mind.

They will not want to be worrying about property maintenance, cleanliness, or if a spouse is waiting for someone to come fix another problem.

If your property is suited for a small or growing family, keeping it clean and well-maintained will attract those in the military for the peace of mind it provides.

If you're planning on marketing your property to military members, there are a few things you can do to make your property appealing:

  • Update appliances. New appliances show a renter that you as a property manager care about their home staying up-to-date and in working order.
  • Ensure the air conditioning, heating, and electrical are in good working order even when they view the home.
  • Keep the property clean. Military members are usually willing to spend a bit more on a home that they believe will be problem-free if they get called away.

Renting to military members can have a ripple effect on future vacancies.

Treat the tenants well and you will find yourself receiving a multitude of referrals for tenants as they rotate around the country.

You can have a long-standing relationship with military members as your tenants if you keep their needs in mind, assist their families during deployments or reassignments, and stay flexible when their country demands their time and services.

 

Posted on Mar 10, 2015

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