Why pet-friendly policies in retirement communities are a big attraction

Posted 24th August 2023

Owning a Pet in a Retirement Community

If you’re looking to move in to retirement rental apartments with your pets, do take care to ensure that your development allows them.

We all know that having a pet is a huge boost to people’s well-being and for older people having a pet companion can be a real lifeline, especially to those who live alone. However, renters in the private sector have often been at a disadvantage when it comes to pet ownership. But that looks all set to change.

Tenant in rented retirement community with pet friendly policy

The Government recently announced changes to the law to enable tenants to have pets[i] in rented accommodation, which is a welcome shift for renters who can struggle to find pet-friendly retirement homes. This is fantastic news for those renting in the private sector but did you know this has always been an option in retirement communities?

The majority of retirement developments we feature are pet-friendly and our tenants have been able to bring their pets with them when they move in. Most developments appreciate just how important a pet can be to older people and we keen to spread the message that renting in retirement doesn’t mean not having a pet.

For those new to renting this can come as a surprise as many often think moving into a rental home means not being able to bring their pet. It’s also a relief and means they can continue benefiting from having a furry companion. Those who don’t already have a pet could even consider getting one!

The benefits of owning a pet during retirement

The charity, Age UK[ii] highlights that aside from the joy of having a cat or a dog, studies show that pets can have a beneficial effect on our health and wellbeing. A study at Cambridge University found that owning a pet can improve general health in less than a month, with pet owners reporting fewer minor ailments such as headaches, coughs and colds.

Also, according to the Pet Health Council, simply stroking a pet or watching fish swim can help us to relax, thus reducing heart rate and lowering blood pressure. And pets such as dogs’ help people keep fit, meet new people out and about and feel safe. All pets though can help people beat loneliness and improve mental health[iii].

Meet a happy tenant with her dog companion

For one of our tenants, June Ramsamy, a vibrant woman in her mid-50s, a pet-friendly policy in a retirement apartment was vital. Whilst looking for a home to rent on her return to the UK, after living in Mauritius. She found a one-bedroom apartment to rent in a retirement development called East Haven in Clacton-on-Sea and moved in in February 2023.

Tenant in rented retirement community with pet friendly policy

She is now embracing the social aspects of living in a retirement community, as well as feeling safe and secure but a major attraction was the fact she could bring her dog back from Mauritius to live with her. Although June is originally from Mauritius, she spent most of her life in East London and, more recently, Basildon, but returned to her homeland in 2017 after the passing of her father.

However, she missed the UK and made the decision to return at the end of last year. June says, “Returning to the UK I faced the task of finding a new place to live. Although I had never been to Clacton-on-Sea or considered renting, I was immediately captivated by the charm of a retirement development called East Haven. I knew it was the ideal place for me.” 

The pet-friendly environment was one of the main attractions. In Mauritius, she had rescued three dogs, and bringing one of them—Bailey, a Griffon cross—back with her was a priority. Knowing that her dog would be welcome in the community was important.

Peace of mind

Moreover, living alone with health concerns, June sought a supportive and friendly community. The emergency cords placed in her apartment provided an additional layer of reassurance, assuring her that help would be readily available if the need arose. 

June adds, “While I wanted my independence, having previously owned my own home, I also longed for a sense of community. Living here enables me to strike the perfect balance. The apartment is wonderful, and the people within the community are genuinely friendly and welcoming. The manager keeps an eye out for everyone’s well-being too.” 

Other benefits include no longer having to worry about maintenance and upkeep. Plus the option of assured or lifetime tenancies provides June with long-term security and peace of mind that she will never have to leave providing she keeps to her tenancy agreement. 

June arrived not knowing anyone and has quickly forged lasting friendships. Many of her companions are older, but age has proven to be inconsequential. The development organises regular social activities, such as coffee mornings, which June eagerly attends.

Socialising tenant in rented retirement community with pet friendly policy

Due to health limitations, June’s outings are primarily limited to walking her dog. Therefore, having social events on her doorstep has been a blessing. June concludes, “Gone are the days of loneliness I experienced in Mauritius; now, I feel a deep sense of belonging and companionship. I’ve truly found a place I can call home.”

If you are considering renting and moving into a retirement development, but thought having a pet would make this difficult it’s time to have a re-think! Many of the developments we feature are pet-friendly so why not take a look at what’s currently available? Search for retirement rental properties today!

[i] https://www.theguardian.com/money/2023/may/18/renters-in-england-how-will-the-pet-proposals-in-the-renters-reform-bill-affect-you

[ii] https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/travel-hobbies/hobbies/owning-a-pet/

[iii] https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/explore-mental-health/a-z-topics/pets-and-mental-health