As people get older, their housing needs change. A family
house can suddenly seem too big, too expensive to maintain or the stairs may
become too tricky to manage. For these reasons and more, downsizing can make
sense. Growing numbers of retirees are now deciding to rent their new homes…
Research from the Centre for Ageing Better reported that
414,000 older people now rent from a private landlord, which is up from 254,000
in 2007. It predicts that, by 2040, a third of those aged over 60-years-old
could be living in private rental housing.
Girlings Retirement Rentals has recorded a year-on-year
increase in the number of enquiries from retirees wanting to downsize and rent
in retirement developments.
The benefits include the fact that the apartments are designed
with older people in mind, they are located in secure, purpose-built
developments, there is an on-site manager, and there is a ready-made community
of similar aged people, providing social opportunities.
Gillian Girling, the Chief Executive of Girlings
Retirement Rentals, says: “Last year, we saw a rise in the
number of reservations. One of the reasons for this growth is the fact we offer
tenancies for tenants, which gives them security of tenure for life
if they choose – essentially the same level of security as homeownership.
“Most retirement developments are in convenient
places, with good transport links, and shops and doctors’ surgeries close by.
Renting also gives people financial freedom. They can budget a fixed amount of
rent per month and, as there are no additional maintenance and service charges
to pay, there are no surprise bills.”
Dorothy decided to rent an apartment in Hedingham
Place, a retirement development in Sible Hedingham, Essex five years ago to be
close to her children and grandchildren.
Since moving in, Dorothy has surprised herself by
making strong friendships, including with Phil, who she met in the communal
sitting room. Dorothy had been talking about Enfield in north London, where she
used to live. It turned out that Phil had lived there, too, and they discovered
that they had both lived in Norfolk, were avid Arsenal fans and even spent
their honeymoons in the same hotel on the Isle of Wight!
Dorothy and Phil have since become firm friends. They
have enjoyed spending time with each other’s families – Dorothy’s family has
welcomed Phil, while Dorothy has travelled with Phil to Cambridgeshire to visit
his daughters. Dorothy’s son even treated the pair to a trip to Emirates
Stadium as a birthday surprise, as they are both such supporters of Arsenal
Dorothy says: “Since moving into my Girlings apartment,
I’ve been lucky enough to discover this wonderful friendship I never thought
I’d find again. Phil and I have led similar lives and we like the same kind of
Dorothy and Phil run a weekly bingo session in the
lounge on Tuesdays, and enjoy regular activities and trips, including an annual
Christmas dinner, as well as weekly coffee mornings and television afternoons
in the lounge.
Dorothy rents on an assured tenancy, and says that she
is there for life.
She adds: “There’s a lovely atmosphere here and
everyone is easy going, and we all adore the development manager, who is very
helpful. The location is great, we have everything we need in the vicinity,
including a Co-Op over the road, and
the minister of the local church often pops in and has coffee with us. I’m very
happy living here.”