According to Paragon Mortgages, over the past 10 years there’s been a 110 per cent increase in the number of households aged between 55-64 that are renting privately.

Paragon’s data shows that there are 2.5m households aged over 35, compared to 1.9 aged 34 or younger, and there’s been a 115 per cent increase in the number of those living in a rented home for over 10 years and up to 20 years.

That’s good news because it brings stability to the market, longer term tenancies and secure rent payments.

Later life tenants

So, the fastest growing group of renters is in the middle-age bracket. Later life tenants living in privately rented homes has accelerated at a much faster rate than those in the under 35 age group, over the past decade, Paragon Bank’s analysis has shows.

In round numbers, the number of households aged 65 and over reached 382,000 in 2021, that’s up 38% on a decade before. The group aged between 55-64 reached 485,000, whilst those aged between 45 and 54 increased by 50 per cent to 691,000.

Conversely, there was a marked decline in the youngest age group: the number of 16 to 24 year-old households in the private rented sector declined by 3.7 per cent over the same period to 560,000, with those aged between 25 and 34 increasing by 6% to 1.37 million.

The figures appear to challenge the general belief that renting is for young people, renting until they manage to get onto the housing ladder. Evidence is building that shows renting is becoming embedded in the housing market, with people choosing to rent for longer or enter the rental market in later life.

Overall, the Paragon figures show that those households aged 35 or over living in rented homes totalled 2.5 million, compared to 1.9 million aged 34 or below.

In general, this trend is good news for landlords as older people in tenancies, where they intend to stay longer, adds greater stability and security and therefore peace of mind for owners.

The latest Government statistics on the PRS
In 2020 to 2021, the Private Rented Sector accounted for 4.4 million (19%) households (65% are owner occupied and 17% are social housing), housing over 11 million people.
While the sector has doubled in size since the early 2000s, the proportion of Private Rented Sector (PRS) households has remained stable at around 19% or 20% since 2013 to 2014.
Private renters are younger than those in other tenures. In 2020 to 2021, those aged 16 to 34 accounted for 43.5% of private renters in England, with 25 to 34 year olds the most common age group of private renters at 31%.
Adults of retirement age make up 8.6% of private renters, corresponding to 382,000 households. This is a 38% increase over the last decade (since 2010 to 2011)
There are over half a million more households with dependent children in the Private Rented Sector than in 2005, making up 30% of the sector.
Private renters spend an average of 31% of their income, including housing support, on rent. In comparison, those buying their home with a mortgage spent 18% of their household income on mortgage payments and social renters paid 27% of their income on rent. Excluding income from housing related welfare, the average proportion of income spent on rent was 36% for social renters and 37% for private renters.
73% of private renters are working – 58% of private renters are in full time work and 15% in part-time work. However, 45% of Private Rented Sector households have no savings.
In 2020 to 2021, there were an estimated 1.1 million households in England who received Housing Benefit to help with the payment of their rent, representing 26% of all households in the rented sector.
There is a wide regional disparity in rental prices. Between October 2020 and September 2021, the average monthly rent in England was £898, but in London this was £1,597. This contrasts with the North East where the average was £572.
On average, private renters have lived in their current home for 4.2 years. This compares with 10.8 years for social renters and 16 years for owner occupiers. Of private renters who had lived in their current home for less than a year, 69% were previously in private rented housing.
Currently, 21% of homes in the Private Rented Sector are non-decent. The sector has the highest prevalence of Category 1 hazards – those that present the highest risk of serious harm or death. In 2020, 12% of PRS properties had such hazards, compared to 10% in the owner occupied sector and 5% in the social rented sector.
In total there are 333 local councils in England, which play a vital role in regulating and enforcing compliance in the Private Rented Sector. Councils are made up of London boroughs, two-tier county and district councils, metropolitan and unitary authorities. In two-tier authorities, most PRS regulatory functions are run by district councils.
Regions in England with the highest percentages of private rented homes as a proportion of their total housing stock are London (27.3%), the South West (20.02%) and Yorkshire and the Humber (19.0%). The national average is 19.4%.
While two thirds of private renters could afford the monthly costs of the average mortgage, 45% have no savings, and just 9.5% of households have adequate savings to achieve a 95% loan to value mortgage.
The majority of households who moved from a privately rented home ended their last tenancy because they wanted to move. However, more than one fifth of renters (22%) who moved in the past year did not end their tenancy by choice, including 8% who were asked to leave by their landlord and a further 8% who left because their fixed term ended.
Source: Policy paper – A fairer private rented sector – Published 16 June 2022

Richard Rowntree, Paragon Bank Managing Director of Mortgages, has said:

“The private rented sector has evolved over the past decade and has seen strong growth in the number of middle-aged and later life tenants. The perception of rented property as being the preserve of the young is outdated.”

There is evidence that people are staying longer in their rented homes. There has been a 132 per cent increase in the number of households who have lived in their home for between five and 10 years over the past decade. There’s been a 115 per cent increase in those living in a rented home for between 10 and 20 years according to Paragon, while it says for those living in a rental property for between one and two years the increase was only 5%.

Again, Richard Rowntree says:

“There could be a number of reasons for the growth in older tenants. We are seeing a greater number of people living in rented accommodation for life, plus people are releasing the equity in their homes and opting to rent instead. The growth of single person households is also driving some of the growth.

“Landlords need to consider what these cohort of tenants need. For example, those between 35 and 55 are more likely to have family, so need larger detached or semi-detached homes, whilst those in later life require simpler homes to maintain that are close to amenities. In addition, tenants want flexibility about making adjustments to their homes, or keeping a pet.”

The number of tenants over 45 has more than doubled over last decade says Paragon.


  1. Its always good to see some positive news for the PRS but I can’t help feeling that it is not enough to keep LLs in it.

    Young people can no longer afford to rent in my area and whilst older tenants seems like good news I wonder how their pensions will keep up with rent rises.

    So, for me, the good news does not outweigh the bad news – aboition of S21 & EPC C – and I will be selling most of my properties.


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