Affordable Rentals For Retirees Or Pensioners: Everything About Finding The Perfect Place To Call Home?

  • By: Peter Parker
  • Time to read: 7 min.

Senior adults, especially those above the age of 65, need a home that is safe, easily accessible, and affordable. 

However, the shortage of senior-friendly homes is resulting in a hike in rental prices. 

With no substantial income except their pension, retirees struggle to find a clean and secure place to call home. 

If you are a senior adult with a low income, there is no need to lose hope. There are multiple options to save on housing expenses, while still finding a home with low rent. 

Available Options for Affordable Rentals for Retirees or Pensioners:

Here are some tips to find affordable rentals for retirees and pensioners. 

Reverse mortgage your home:

Staying in your own house is the most affordable and convenient option if you do not need comprehensive care. If the mortgage is not paid off and you are struggling to manage expenses, you can consider reverse mortgaging. 

In a reverse mortgage, you can give away a part of the equity in the home to a financial institution in exchange for regular payments to supplement your pension. 

You can still be the owner of the property and live without paying rent while receiving a specific sum periodically from the lender. 

It is crucial to note that reverse mortgage has its fair share of pros and cons. It is not an ideal choice for everyone and is expensive

Reverse mortgaging is the right choice when you plan to stay in the property for a longer duration, you and your spouse are both above 62, own the house together, and are co-borrowers of the reverse mortgage, and when your home is an asset, which does not possess any sentimental value. 

A reverse mortgage is not advisable when you do not have enough equity in the home, have health challenges, your spouse is under 62 or your home has sentimental value. 

Before opting for a reverse mortgage, you have to perform an in-depth analysis to know whether the option is suitable for your circumstances before choosing to reverse mortgage your home. 

Sale and rent-back schemes

If you own a house but are struggling to meet the mortgage and other home-related expenses, sale and rent-back schemes are the best bet. Under this scheme, you can sell your home at a discounted price and opt to rent it at a pre-determined rent, for a specific period. 

Sale and leaseback schemes are attractive for senior adults as they allow you to stay in your home even after selling it. 

You can also turn your equity in the home into cash rather than taking a debt or mortgage. 

Moreover, you can also save money incurred on homeowners insurance, HOA fees, property taxes, and maintenance. 

Several companies such as,, Truehold, and Easyknock offer home sale and leaseback services. 

You have to compare the services and expenses of each of the companies and choose the best option. 

Before opting for the sale and rent-back schemes, you have to know a few key facts. Some of them are  

  1. How will the sale price of your house be determined? 
  2. What is the rent payable? 
  3. What happens when you cannot pay the rent for a few months?
  4. Term for which you can rent the property?
  5.  When will the rent be increased?
  6. Terms and conditions of the rental deed?

Sale and rent-back schemes possess a few risks. You have to be aware of them before proceeding further. 

It is crucial to note that under this agreement, you will sell the house at a discounted rate compared to the market value. 

The new owner can increase the rent both during and after the term. You may have to evict the property after the term ends or during the term, under special circumstances.                              

Live with family

Apart from lowering your rental expenses, living with your loved ones will allow you to spend time in a supportive and caring family environment. You can live with your children, relatives, or friends willing to share their home. 

If you own a home, you can ask your children, close relatives, or friends to live with you. They can share the expenses, thus lowering the housing costs for both of you. 

Living in your own home allows you to age in familiar surroundings and maintain a daily routine. 

However, living with family has many disadvantages as well. 

The responsibilities and stress of owning and maintaining the home can create a rift in the family when you cannot fulfill them independently. You may also have to compromise on your lifestyle and habits to accommodate the person living with you. 

It is essential to discuss the scenario with the person you intend to share the home with. Invite a child, relative, or friend only when you are confident that he/she is compatible with you and can offer support when the need arises. 

Some organizations help you find compatible roommates to live with. 

New York Foundation for Senior Citizens, Affordable Living with Aging, Senior Homeshares, and Silvernest are some of them. These organizations provide free and paid services for seniors to help them find a supportive roommate to share a home. 

Subsidized housing for senior adults

The Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Department of the United States provides subsidized single-family homes and apartments for retirees and pensioners. These senior-friendly homes are equipped with all the amenities such as ramps, cleaning services, and transportation services. 

There is a long waiting list for HUD’s subsidized housing schemes for senior adults. The waiting list may run for years. But you can get immediate housing if you are homeless and do not have a safe place to live. 

HUD offers two schemes to provide affordable rentals for retirees and pensioners: 

  1. HUD offers Section 202 supportive housing for the elderly. The scheme aims to provide housing for very low-income seniors. Your total household income must be less than 50% of your area’s median income, and at least one family member must be 62 years or above to qualify for the scheme.

If you are qualified for Section 202 housing, you have to pay only 30% of your adjusted income as rent.

  1. Housing choice vouchers under Section 8 are another way HUD subsidizes senior housing. The local Public Housing Agencies (PHA) distribute these vouchers to low-income seniors. 

To apply, you have to contact your local PHA. You have to rent a home directly first before applying for the vouchers. The landlord must be willing to rent under the Section 8 program. 

Under the program, the PHA will pay the landlord a certain portion of the rent, and the remaining rent must be paid by you. 

Apart from these options, the government provides affordable housing for senior citizens with specific conditions. Some of the affordable housing schemes are 

  • Section 8 supportive housing for people with disabilities living independently
  • The HUD’s supportive  program for homeless veterans 

If you are living in your own home, there are certain HUD schemes to cut down expenses on home maintenance and repairs. Few of them are 

  • Section 504 home repair program subsidizes the expenses incurred on repairs and upgrades to make your home a safe retirement nest.
  • Low-income home energy assistance program subsidizes the cost of repairs related to the heating and cooling system and other energy-related problems. 
  • Medicaid waivers to pay for in-home care, housekeepers, and other assistance programs. 

Cooperative housing for seniors

Cooperative housing allows you to lease a unit in the co-op and use the common areas in the building, and the services provided by the company. 

Though it is not the most affordable option, it is one of the ways to find a perfect home for retirement years. 

In a co-op housing for seniors, you can live with other people of your age and form friendships. 

You can enjoy the benefits of community living while spending only a fraction of the amount. There are over 120 senior housing co-ops in the US. 

You have to buy shares in the co-op to be able to lease the property. 

Apart from buying the shares, the co-op will charge monthly fees for utilities, maintenance expenses, taxes, and repairs. 

Members can vote on important decisions for managing the community and the buildings. 

When you plan to move out of the co-op, you can sell the shares back to the company or any other members. You get the cost of the shares plus the accrued equity over the years. 

Some retirees consider buying co-op shares as a safe investment. However, the appreciation in share value is very minimal around 1 to 2% per annum. 

Low-income senior apartments

Low-income senior apartment complexes provide affordable housing for retirees and pensioners. Non-profit organizations, government programs, and other institutions subsidize the rent of senior apartments. 

The rent of these apartments and condos is capped at 30% of your adjusted gross income. 

Low-income senior apartments have eligibility requirements for the members. They provide senior-friendly amenities such as elevators, ramps, bars in showers, and restrooms. 

You can find a perfect living space to call home with all the senior-friendly amenities in these subsidized apartments. 

Apart from the HUD, you can contact organizations such as Volunteers of America, Good Samaritan Society, HumanGood, and Mercy Housing to find low-income senior apartments in your area. 

Affordable rentals for retirees and low-income seniors are very limited. It is advisable to start your search early as the waiting lists for these low-cost rentals and government programs are too long. 

Plan for your retirement early and consult a reputed senior advisor to choose the right options for your requirements. 

Research all the available options to make an informed decision. 

Evaluate all the properties and choose a clean, safe, easily accessible, and senior-friendly place to spend your senior years peacefully.

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