News that the number of over-65s in the private rented sector is booming could open up a new avenue for savvy landlords, investors and developers, particularly as a third of such renters feel their current accommodation is not appropriate for their needs.
An estimated 414,000 older people currently live in privately rented homes, according to Centre for Ageing Better, up by a staggering 48% compared to the 254,000 who rented privately back in 2007. It seems this figure is still on the rise, with estimates that there could be 549,000 over-65 households in the next 20 years, which would equate to approximately a third of the age group.
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However, it seems that many of those older renters are less than satisfied with their current situation, according to research from Independent Age, with 32% saying that their rented homes are not suitable for them. Meanwhile, double the amount of over-65 private renters believe their homes are cold and damp compared to those of the same age who own properties or live in council homes.
According to Janet Morrison, CEO of Independent Age, older people who exist in Generation Rent are largely overlooked and ignored by current housing policy. “Life as an older person in private rented accommodation can be unstable and financially insecure, yet they are often invisible in thinking about housing,” she added.
Good news for investors and developers
The positive news is that, as the need for accommodation suited to catering for the older renting generation rises, so too does the number of opportunities to create such properties in the form of build-to-rent and specialist buy-to-let investments. Easily accessed housing with lifts, high-quality insulation for warmth and energy efficiency, as well as the inclusion of spaces specifically designed for communal areas in purpose-built developments to help combat loneliness are some of the considerations for renting to older people.
And it seems that some over-65s who already own their homes are opting to sell in favour of moving into specialist retirement developments, with Girlings Retirement Rentals reporting an increase in enquiries from those wanting to downsize from their owned family home into a manageable rental property.
CEO Gillian Girling said:
“One of the biggest attractions of later life letting with Girlings is that we let properties on assured tenancies, rather than the usual assured shorthold tenancy in the open market.”
“The assured tenancy provides the security which enables people to remain in their properties for life, if they choose.
“Renting can make financial sense too, allowing people to use the capital from a home sale to invest, gift or spend. With renting, they also don’t have to pay any property maintenance costs.”