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Should You Rent to Refugee Families?

Michele - Wednesday, October 6, 2021
Property Management Blog

Due to recent events throughout the world, we’ve received several calls from agents representing refugee families and seeking an available home for rent. As we present these requests to our landlords for consideration, we wanted to share the previous experience we had when one of our landlords accepted a refugee family as a tenant.

In November 2103, we were contacted by Catholic Charities to see if any of our landlords would consider accepting a refugee family from Afghanistan who was on their way to the United States. Catholic Charities offered to provide the security deposit and the first two months’ rent. Catholic Charities would also assist the adults with finding employment and would pay several additional months’ rent if the tenants had not yet secured steady income.

One of our landlords had a one-bedroom condo available and agreed to take the refugee family on as renters. Mr. and Mrs. Meherzad came to our office the morning after they landed in Virginia. We reviewed the lease together for almost 2 hours. They were new to our country and new to our laws. They wanted to be sure they fully understood the contract before signing. Mr Meherzad was a financial analyst and found employment very quickly. After the first 2 months of payments from Catholic Charities, Mr Meherzad continued making on-time payments for the remainder of the lease.

When the lease expired, Mr. and Mrs. Meherzad applied to move into a 3-bedroom town home that we were also managing.By this time, they fully qualified to rent the property and were accepted as tenants.The Meherzads lived in the townhouse for two years as Mrs Meherzad re-established her career as a Doctor and as they positioned themselves to purchase a home. After two years in the townhouse, The Meherzads worked with one of our former Realtors and purchased a home that we had also been managing.

The Meherzads were excellent tenants.We were happy to be part of the process that allowed them to go from having an emergency need for housing to becoming homeowners and established members of our community.Both landlords who rented to the Meherzads were also happy to have been part of that process.

While this was our only experience with placing a refugee family, it was such a positive one, that it sets our expectations for the possibility of future experiences.The refugees who are looking for housing today are also being assisted financially by local charities and many also have the support of local churches, mosques, and other assistance programs or support systems.

Of course, there is risk in accepting a family that has not yet established a steady source of income.But, as we’ve seen during the COVID pandemic, there is now significant risk even with those applicants who are well qualified financially but could later become impacted either physically or financially by COVID.

I hope that our landlords will seriously consider any of the refugee families that apply for their properties. I’m happy to discuss by phone in more detail, please give me a call – Michele Odems 703-963-6540.