Senior rentals in tight supply


May 09, 1999

Dear Mr. Azrael:

My father has just turned 79 and his house is much too big for him. He has limited income.

How do I go about finding a subsidized independent-living apartment for him, or do you know of any other options available? We are looking for something in the Reisterstown/Pikesville area.

Also, there is the question of selling his house. Is there any place to look for information on picking out a Realtor?

Bonnie Berman


Dear Ms. Berman:

The demand for senior rental apartments "exceeds the supply," according to Harry Citron, older-adult specialist with Jewish Family Services. These apartments charge a moderate rent, which is lower than the market rate and which varies among apartment complexes. Income guidelines apply; most units are reserved for people 62 and older.

Some facilities promote social activities, but other support services are not included. Current demand for these units has caused some apartments to close their waiting lists.

Citron recommends that you consider an "elder care family consultation," offered by Jewish Family Services and similar agencies. For a fee of approximately $80, an older-adult specialist meets with the family to discuss a range of issues affecting their older family member.

The specialist will help the family consider alternative living arrangements and identify resources available.

Citron can be reached at 410-542-6300, Ext. 267. Another source of information is the Maryland State Department of Aging at 410-767-1100 or 800-243-3425. This agency will refer you to the appropriate office in your area.

Baltimore County has a senior information assistance office at 410-887-2594. The county publishes a helpful directory of "Senior Resources" that lists apartment and assisted-living facilities geared to older adults.

These agencies will not assist you, however, in selling his home.

When the time comes for selling the property, I suggest you contact a real estate company that is prominent in the area where the home is located.

Ask for a market analysis that shows the recent sale prices of comparable homes in the neighborhood. Read the listing contract and materials carefully, and ask for changes in the commission rate or term of the list if you are not satisfied.


Real estate questions are answered by Jonathan A. Azrael.

Questions -- including name, address and daytime telephone number -- may be sent in the following ways:

Mailing address: Real Estate Mailbag, Fifth Floor, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278-0001. Fax: 410-783-2517. E-mail:

Call our Sundial audio-response number, 410-783-1800. Enter code 6170 after the greeting.

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