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How Are Senior Housing Rent Increases Handled? – Ask After55.com

Money is tight for many seniors. More than 25 million Americans older than 60 live at or below 250% of the federal poverty level. Even seniors who aren’t “poor” but rely on Social Security struggle to meet their monthly expenses. Already facing rising health-care costs, many also fear they might have to deal with higher senior housing rents.

senior couple with bills, possibly worried about senior housing rent increase

After55.com® heard from one such senior soon after our first Ask After55.com article. A reader named Kathy wrote in:

“I’m looking at affordable senior housing 55 and above. Yes, I can probably afford the rent now, but if increases are imposed, it would not be long before it would not be affordable for me.”

While an annual increase in living expenses is expected, is the same true when you live in a senior apartment or retirement community? If you’re concerned like Kathy, read on to learn more about how rent increases are handled in senior housing.

Senior Housing Rents on the Rise

Housing is a major expense, whether you live in a retirement community, 55+ apartment, assisted living facility, or nursing home. And costs are going up. In general, you should expect rental rates to increase by about 3% a year, based on several recent reports.

According to the Genworth 2015 Cost of Care Survey, the following types of senior housing saw these increases from 2014:
Assisted Living: Up 2.86%.
Nursing Homes: Up 3.77% for a semi-private room, up 4.17% for a private room.

Information about rent increases in independent living and senior apartments is harder to come by. But these rates have been reported:
Independent Living: Up 3.1% in 2014, for existing residents at nonprofit senior living communities.
Apartments: Up 4% nationally in 2016. This is for apartments in general, not just senior apartments.

Overall, senior living costs rose 2.7% in 2015. For seniors living on a fixed income, a rent increase can make it that much harder to make ends meet. It doesn’t matter if you are paying for your housing from a retirement fund or with assistance from Medicare or Medicaid.

Handling a Senior Housing Rent Increase

rental agreement with pen and glasses

When and how much your rent increases in senior housing depends on where you live, your income, and how much care you receive.

For instance, if you or your loved one in assisted living has a decline in health and needs additional care, this can result in a higher housing rate. This can include something as simple as one additional shower per week or eating in your room as opposed to the community dining area.

As for a senior apartment, a property manager can raise your rent as much as he chooses at the end of your lease — unless you live in a rent-controlled or rent-stabilized area, are governed on a local level, or have rules about how often and how much your rent can be increased. New York City, for instance, has a Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption.

However, a property can raise your rent only when your lease expires and with a suitable amount of notice (30 to 60 days). You also will want to make sure the increase doesn’t violate the terms of your lease. If you still feel your rent increase is too high, you can try the following:

  • – Negotiate with your property manager. (Get some rent-negotiation tipss here.)
  • – Do your market research to know what a fair price is.
  • – Contact a housing mediation service or real estate lawyer.

How to Avoid a Rent-Hike Surprise

happy senior couple sitting on couch

No matter where you live, your rates, services and fees should all be outlined in your admission agreement or rental contract.

In senior housing especially, it’s important that you understand whether and how management bills for extra services. Also, ask about how the senior housing community has increased rental rates in the past. For additional questions to ask, see After55.com’s Assisted Living Guide and Independent Living Guide.

If you do your homework when considering senior housing, there shouldn’t be any surprises.

What Are Your Senior Housing Questions?

Ask After55 is a monthly feature of After55.com by correspondent Mary Beth Adomaitis. Submit your questions for consideration in one of two ways:

– Comment below on this article. (Your question will be displayed publicly, so we suggest that you don’t include personally identifying information.)

Fill out this form. (Your question will be sent to us privately to be considered for a future Ask After55.com article. Note, however, that we are not able to respond to submitted questions personally, especially on individual situations.)

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  • Mary Beth Adomaitis

    About Mary Beth Adomaitis:

    Mary Beth Adomaitis a freelance writer living in Southern California. She has written about senior topics for several senior living websites. She also has a blog, Unwrinkled Hearts, which was started after her mother-in-law passed away in 2015. It focuses on elderly living in the 21st century. Mary Beth has been a writer/journalist for more than 25 years, lending her talents to companies such as The Los Angeles Times, where she also served as a copy editor and graphic designer.

    Comments

    1. KATHY magyar says:

      we are looking for a senior apt 2 bedroom in reno nv

    2. Janis Tipton says:

      My mon is living in a facility that you pay by your income. They have been told their rent will go up $60.00 a month to pay for drive recoving. Can they rais it this much. Many said they will have to move because they can not aford.

      • Hello, Janis.

        Your best source of information on that question might be the housing authority in your mother’s city. You might also want to contact the Area Agency on Aging in your mother’s area. Find your local agency here: https://www.n4a.org/

        – Mark, After55.com

    3. EDRICE THOMAS says:

      I WOULD LIKE A 2 BER 2 BATH APT, ON AN FIXTED INCOME PLEASE HELP ME YHANK YOU !

    4. Andrea E Maybury says:

      My neighbor is 72 and frail she has lived in her rented home for 27 years with no increase in rent mainly due to many renovations done and paid for by them. Now they told her the rent will be raised more than 50%! This is in jacksonville fl and she does not have a lease. Is there any help for her?

    5. betty j harvey says:

      i live in a senior apt since they change property manager she keeps raising the rent every year last year she raise 55 more a year now its 35 a year i do not think that is fair because she does not raise the other senior that much i have been here 4 years 80 years old a lot of section 8 in here my problem is they will not change the carpet or paint she says i have to do it my self for them not to do anything to the apt i think this rent is unfair trying to find me a low rent apt every senior should be treated fairly thank you

    6. We have to live the home we rented for 10 years by end of April. We are senior citizens with a fixed income. My husband is an Army veteran. Where, in California, can we get help in finding a small home and help with the move? We are 83 and 79 respectively and can no longer effect the move by ourselves but have no savings to help. What organizations can help? We have two cats.

    7. It is important when deciding to move to a senior living facility that you check the “waiting lists”! Get your name on the lists as soon as possible as the waiting period can be up to 3 years waiting! There is no obligation to have your name on the lists of the apartments you are interested in! They will contact you when they have a vacancy! It’s a good time to go out and tour the places you are interested in; get your name on their lists and scope out their amenities!

      • Raymond Myers says:

        Yeah Right on…especially given that costs of living always DECREASE for seniors year over year according to the official calculations whereas one gets an alleged cola which is totally and instantly absorbed by the amount deducted for medicare costs…. and the cost of food did not decrease either……These calculations must be done by folks whose main qualifications is that they have to flunk basic arithmetic and any and all related subjects.

    8. cynthia franklin says:

      I am a senior who is in need of apartment and I am on a fixed income. The other problem is many Baby Boomers are retired and living on fixed Income, and in need of more just to make the ends meet. we are the ones who turned the world around, since so many of us who are living the work place any ways.I am hoping and Praying that I find myself apartment that I can afford. Being a senior and living on a fixed income can be hard, but God can and will make a way for Us.(Seniors)

    9. Jennie Laughlin says:

      I’m having a hard time getting into an over 55 community. I am currently in a regular apartment and need help getting into a 55 apartment community, are there any pointers, every month I call to get on the list, but it is always filled up.

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