Why renting in retirement is gaining in popularity

Posted 2nd November 2021

When people get older their housing priorities often change, and whilst home ownership can seem like the preferred option, we’re seeing growing numbers turn to renting instead.

A recent report by estate agency Knight Frank highlights this shift and forecasts that the number of rental properties for seniors in the UK will increase by 166% in the next five years, from almost 5,000 currently to almost 13,000 by 2025.

But what’s behind this increase and what are the benefits?

Part of the reason is the UK has a rising ageing population. The 65+ population is set to grow by 22% in the next 30 years to 15.1 million people. Older people need age-appropriate housing options and choice.

But also renting is no longer just for the younger generations and for older people in their 60s, 70s and 80s can offer significant benefits. It can enable people to downsize to a smaller, more manageable sized property and free up capital in bricks and mortar.

This is can help people to have the retirement lifestyle they have dreamt about, perhaps going on more holidays, spending time on leisure pursuits and enjoying eating out more. Renting also means people no longer have to look after the maintenance of a property which can become burdensome as people age.

There is the camaraderie of living in a retirement community too and having likeminded people close by you can mix with if you choose. Our retirement developments are all about independent living but there are communal areas for people to socialise in, which is a big attraction for some, especially those living alone.

There is also the safety and security element. All our apartments have an emergency Careline cord or button, plus a house manager on site during the day to help with the running of the development who also keeps an eye on people and makes sure they are OK. 

One lady benefitting from living in one of our retirement developments is Maria Elena Grillo who moved from Italy to London over 40 years ago. For the past 10 years has Maria has rented an apartment at Sheridan Lodge in Bromley. She is settled and happy in her community which she says, ‘feel like family’. 

Maria enjoyed a prestigious career working as a Professor for the National Academy of Dance and she still has a great passion for dance. At 85 years old she is a dance ballet critic for an Italian dance magazine.

Maria’s studio apartment at Sheridan Lodge has lovely views over the communal gardens and she is surrounded by friends and neighbours so even though she lives alone she never feels alone.

She comments, “Everyone is so very friendly and there is a strong sense of community at Sheridan Lodge.”

After suffering from an accident last year, Maria was overwhelmed by the support, kindness and care her neighbours and in particular the House Manager have shown her.

She said, “From checking in on me daily and helping me with my weekly shopping, my friends here have been invaluable”.

“I have a lovely cosy studio apartment which I love. The gardens are beautifully maintained and there is a warm feeling around the development. During the pandemic, we had to keep our distance and were unable to use the communal areas such as the lounge area.

Now we are easing out of lockdown, the Manager has been busy making sure we are slowly getting back to normal life again. So far this week we’ve had a tea party and another gathering arranged for the weekend. The community spirit and resilience shown by the people living and working here has been incredible to witness.”

Maria was keen to rent in a retirement community because it offers the freedom and flexibility she wants. She is on an assured tenancy which gives her security and means she never has to worry about a landlord wanting her to leave.  She also feels very happy and safe where she is.

She concludes, “I would highly recommend moving into a retirement community. As a woman living alone it is reassuring to know I have people I can speak to and socialise with, plus the house manager is wonderful and always goes above and beyond to help.”

Whilst renting may not appeal to everyone, for some it can be a great option and well worth considering in later life. Take a look at our Renting in Retirement guides to find out more.