According to research from Your Move’s sister company LSL Corporate Client Department Ltd, almost one in five people aged over 55 are renting, a trend the company describes as the ‘rise of the silver renter’.
But for some people, an Englishman’s home is his castle – home ownership is still the aspiration and renting is seen as second best. However, retirement housing has changed dramatically over the years and continues to adapt to the next generation’s needs and aspirations.
Here we expose the truth behind the top six myths:
1. Tenancy agreements are always short term
Whilst in the private rented sector tenancy agreements tend to be assured shorthold tenancies, which means the landlord can ask for a possession order usually after six months, we offer assured tenancies for the majority of our properties, which means that you can remain in the property for life if you choose. Security of tenure is particularly important for older people and the assured tenancy provides complete peace of mind that you can live here for as long as you wish.
2. Only retired people can live in a retirement development
This isn’t true. In most developments there is simply a minimum age limit for occupation. The majority of retirement developments accept those aged 60 and over, with some available to those aged over 55. We have tenants who are still working, either on a full-time or part-time basis or choosing to keep active through volunteering. Many of our tenants have decided to take advantage of market conditions and downsize early, releasing capital in their home ready for their retirement.
3. Retirement developments are like care homes
One of the most common misperceptions about retirement developments is that they are like a care home and people can feel too young to move to one. But in most developments, there is a real mixture of ages, with some couples and single people from a wide variety of backgrounds and areas of the UK.
Renting an apartment in a retirement development is similar to renting an apartment in any development, except the apartments are designed with older people in mind. They include services that people may need as they get older such as a 24 hour emergency call system installed in each apartment in case of need. There is also usually a manager available during week days to ensure the smooth running of the development.
4. Pets are not allowed
People are often put off renting in a retirement development because they think they won’t be able to bring their pets. Whilst rules vary from development to development, many will allow pets with the necessary permissions.
5. Renting can be costly
The cost of renting can be a concern – particularly because some people think they need to pay service charges and property maintenance on top of their rent. We include the services of the development and property maintenance in the rental cost which helps people to budget effectively and with the benefits of an assured tenancy it’s ‘home from home’. Renting your home in later life can actually help with financial planning for the benefit of you and your family.
6. Residents are ‘forced’ to join in
Older people often say they don’t want to live in a ‘community’ and be forced to join in residents’ events. However, it’s entirely up to each individual how involved they become in community life. For some, having a good social life is a real bonus, especially if they live alone. We have certainly seen this over the years.
One couple who have benefited from renting a retirement apartment is John and Pamela Gray, both in their 80s. They downsized from a family home in Surrey, which they sold last December, to rent a two-bedroom apartment in Surbiton closer to their daughter and grandchildren in Richmond. The couple no longer wanted to maintain a property and they also didn’t want to leave their family with the hassle of selling a property when they died.
Commenting on the move, John said, “The apartment is ideal for us, it is warm, the other residents are friendly, and it feels very safe. We don’t have a garden to worry about and the location is very convenient, the buses go from right outside the door and there is a variety of great shops in the village including supermarkets.”
An added bonus has been the lovely retirement community. There is a residents’ lounge which is usually buzzing with other people to chat to and regular social activities to enjoy including quizzes, coffee mornings and film nights which the couple love attending.
John adds, “There is a lot going on here socially and we really enjoy living here. As well as the social life, we like the reassurance of having a development manager on-site, and although we haven’t had to use it we have peace of mind that our apartment has the 24 hour CareLine in case of any emergency.”
To find out more about renting in retirement visit the website www.girlings.co.uk.