Landlords’ livelihoods are directly tied to the success of their tenants. This mutual relationship thrives when both parties move to help the other. When faced with a refugee crisis, matters at hand grow less focused on the mutually beneficial and more on the humanitarian. Refugees, after all, cannot control whether they become refugees. Instead, they come to countries like the United States hoping to make a better life for themselves and their families.
As a landlord, you can — and should — be renting to refugees. There are some quirks to the refugee’s tenant application and application process, though, that you’ll want to keep in mind.
Considerations When Renting to Refugees
Refugees don’t leave their countries on a whim. They’re often driven out by forces that they cannot control. War, natural disasters, and disastrous governmental changes can leave smart, talented people without a home.
The silver lining to the refugee crisis seen around the world today is that those same people are looking to bring their talents to countries like the United States. All you need to do to help them is give them a place to stay. When accepting applications for refugee tenants, you can even consider their unique circumstances by making a few helpful modifications to your business.
Adjusting Your Screening Process
When you first consider a rental application, you likely request a potential tenant’s background information. While this is within your rights, you may not need the same information when renting to refugees.
No refugee can come into the country without being vetted by institutions, including the FBI and CIA. This process usually takes several months in addition to the time refugees spend with case management services.
In short, by the time a refugee applies for a rental unit with one of your properties, they’ve had their credentials vetted nearly a dozen times. While a background and credit check can help you get a bead on an applicant’s overall standing, you can still rest easy.
Offering Flexible Payment Programs
While refugees work with case management services to get their feet under them, it can still take some time for interested parties to learn the ins and outs of digital America.
Online rent payment processors, for example, require both access to the Internet and a bank account or credit card. Certain processors may even need a person’s Social Security Number or bank account.
Refugees are still bringing together all of the basics they need to live everyday life. You, in turn, can work to meet them on their level, especially when it comes to their rent payments and payment processing.
During your initial conversations with refugee applicants, discuss the validity of checks and cash payments on your property. If you have your tenants staying with you on a month-to-month basis, you can arrange different rent payments as it seems appropriate.
Expanding Your Leasing Options
The lease template you created for your property may not be especially refugee-friendly. If you want to open your doors to people who need help, it’s in your best interest to expand your current leasing options.
For example, consider the ways a year-long lease may be holding your operation back. While year-long leases let you retain a consistent income for longer, they also drive off tenants moving from city to city or actively looking for work.
When you break your lease down, offering six-month and month-to-month options, you make your properties more accessible. Refugees who want to find the best city and employment can provide you with rental income for a few months at a time, all while comfortably getting settled in their new lives.
So long as all involved parties communicate openly with one another, month-to-month leases can either resolve to mutual benefit or evolve into year-long agreements.
Preparing Your Property for Renting to Refugees
The world of rentals is ever-changing, especially in the face of shifting tenant demographics. Natural disasters, global crises, and other driving forces are all sending people from different places to America’s shores.
If you’re looking to open your doors to refugees, look at operations across your rental properties. There are certain steps you can take to make your units refugee-friendly. You might find that renting to refugees is the ideal way to expand your collection of reliable tenants.