Margaret James

After 32 years, Margaret still loves retirement renting

Margaret James aged 78 years loves her one-bedroom property at Charles Dickens Court retirement development in Portsmouth which she rents through My Future Living so much that she has lived there for 32 years and has no plans of ever moving.

Originally from Glasgow, Margaret has lived most of her life in Portsmouth after meeting her first husband, a marine and then going on to marry her second husband Mervin, an antiques dealer.

Mervin owned several antique shops in Southsea, Wickham and Portsmouth and Margaret worked with him and learnt a lot about the trade and antiques. Since he died in 2005, she has continued with her passion of searching for antiques and collectable items and says her flat is full to bursting with lots of treasures from vases to prints, which means it takes a long time to dust!

Being a widow and living alone, feeling safe and secure was important for Margaret. She comments: “After Mervin died, I knew I was never going to leave Charles Dickens Court as it offers me everything. It is a safe building with only 25 apartments and it is in a central location so I can walk or take the bus to my local shops, especially all the good charity and antique shops and there is a real community that lives here.” The apartment also offers a 24-hour emergency system which provides residents with peace of mind that help is there at any time.

After living in the same building for 32 years Margaret has had lots of different neighbours over the years, but the feeling of community has always felt the same. “We have a lovely outdoor communal area in the gardens where the residents meet up in the warmer months for drinks and chats. It’s a friendly and supportive environment.”

Even though there is an in-house gardener who tends to the lawn, Margaret has taken ownership of tending to the communal seating areas for the residents and keeping it colourful with pots and plants. “I love to garden and even though there is no responsibility to maintain the gardens, I really enjoy taking care of the area where the residents all congregate.”

One of the many benefits of renting is having an assured tenancy which means Margaret has protection from eviction and can stay for as long as she wishes.

Margaret concludes: “I won’t ever move from Charles Dickens Court. It’s my home and always will be.”