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Sharp rise in number of older tenants

There has been a significant increase in the number of people renting homes when they retire over the past decade, according to new research from letting agency, Countrywide. 

The study found that retirees have paid a total of £3.7bn in rent over the past 12 months, a rise of 200% when compared to the £1.2bn paid in 2007.

The research also highlights that retired people now account for 8% of all private tenants, up from 5.2% ten years ago. 

Girlings Retirement Rentals said that this rise can be attributed in part to changing attitudes and perceptions to renting in the older generation. 

Households aged 65-plus currently account for around 12% of all those living in the private rented sector, and his figure is set to grow further according to the retirement rentals specialist. 

The firm reports a steady growth in enquiries since 2002, with 2015 and 2016 showing the highest enquiry levels yet. The company anticipates enquiries in 2017 will continue to remain buoyant, based on activity levels for this year so far.  

This growing trend is backed up by research from Strutt & Parker and Octopus Healthcare, which found that almost one in five baby boomers would consider living in a professionally managed rental product.

The survey highlighted there are several reasons the over 65s want to downsize in retirement. Some 34% of respondents said they would move if they required more support; 33% wanted lower property maintenance and 26% wanted a more accessible home with fewer stairs.  Others wanted to live in a smaller house, reduce their outgoings and have a smaller garden.

However, moving may a pipe dream for many as 42% believe there is a lack of suitable properties in the UK to downsize into. There is clearly a need, as Strutt & Parker says, “for a new breed of retirement communities in the UK". 

Peter Girling, chairman of Girlings Retirement Rentals, said: “As people get older they want different things from a home and the option to downsize is something many would consider. Renting in a specialist retirement development is becoming a popular lifestyle choice. We offer properties on assured tenancies, so people have security of tenure which is very important for older people.

“Renting enables people to step off the property ladder, sell their homes and release capital to help fund retirement. They can downsize to a more manageable sized property, with added support services included in the rent – and be free from the burden of property maintenance or upkeep.”

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