The public’s appetite for downsizing and renting a retirement property when they get older continues to grow. Girlings Retirement Rentals report a 7 per cent increase in enquiries January to July 2015 compared with 2014, and a 34 per cent increase in web site visits.
Despite demand there is a severe lack of purpose built retirement property, either to rent or buy and many people who want to downsize are unable to. Less than 3 per cent of housing in the pipeline is aimed at older people and yet, in 20 years’ time, those aged 65 or over will make up 23 per cent of the population.
Peter Girling, Chair of Girlings Retirement Rentals said: “Our continuing message to government is that the UK desperately needs more purpose built retirement property so that older people have the option to downsize. Many older people are stuck in homes that are too big for them, have little choice of a suitable alternative and perceive the obstacles to enjoying a better quality of life in their later years are insurmountable.”
Retired people in the UK currently own a third of the nation’s housing stock and enabling them to downsize would free up much needed family houses and give them the opportunity to release their capital, invest in their future and enjoy their retirement, living in housing that meets all their future needs.
Peter Girling said: “We believe there is a simple answer to the current housing shortage and that is for older people to consider downsizing to a purpose built retirement property and renting on an assured tenancy. Choosing to rent in later life is a sensible solution and one which thousands of Girlings’ tenants can recommend.
“Equally, if older people downsize it will free up much needed family housing for people further down the ladder. The latest statistics from the Home Builders Federation state that we are still some way off of the 220- 250,000 new houses that are needed to be built per year to satisfy current demand,” adds Mr Girling.
The provision of an assured (‘lifetime’) tenancy removes any obstacle to renting by providing the peace of mind that people can live in their new home for as long as they wish. Furthermore, should circumstances alter in the future there is not the frustration of trying to sell a retirement property in an uncertain market and the ensuing worry for family and friends.
One lady to have benefited from downsizing and renting is Olive Young who sold her home in Ilford, Essex in 2006 and rented an apartment. She was certain that when she retired she didn’t want to be a home owner, as she didn’t want the responsibility of home maintenance and gardening.
Although renting suited Olive, she craved more permanence – a home in which she could settle and live for many years to come.
Olive commented, “I wanted a decent and affordable home to enjoy my retirement years that would also suit me as I got older. I came across Girlings Retirement Rentals a few years ago and loved the concept of its assured tenancies which allow people to rent for life. At the time, I had been too young to move into one of the apartments and I didn’t realise then that they offered apartments in Ilford.”
When Olive checked Girling’s website again, she saw that an apartment being advertised at Wiltshire Court, a modern, purpose built development with communal gardens, over the road from where she was living. She viewed a couple of apartments at Wilshire Court and fell in love with a one bedroom apartment on the second floor which was south facing, light and airy.
Olive commented, “This is the ideal set up for me. I have a home that I love where I have brought all my furniture. It is modern and bright and uncluttered – something which is really important to me.
Not a keen gardener herself, Olive loves spending time in the communal gardens and has made friends and met many interesting people since moving in. She also says it has been a good financial move and says that the bills for utilities are very reasonable too.
She concluded: “At 61 I am one of the youngest residents here and I have learned a lot about getting older which has helped me grow and develop as a person. I feel a sense of calm and reassurance too that this apartment will really suit me as I get older. There is a real community here and all the support facilities are in place if I needed help. I feel like I have finally found my home.”
About Girlings Retirement Rentals
- Girlings Retirement Rentals is a family run company, wholly owned by Places for People, which deals exclusively with renting private retirement property to the 55+ market throughout the UK
- Girlings has over 2,500 properties in 600 developments across the UK
- Girlings lets the majority of its units on life long (assured) tenancy agreements, which allow tenants to stay in properties for as long as they wish, providing security of tenure.
- The services of the development and property maintenance costs are included in the monthly payments.
- Girlings properties are predominantly one bedroom apartments. Two bedroom apartments, studios, and a small number of bungalows and cottages are also available, all within purpose built retirement developments.
- Girlings is a member of the Association of Retirement Housing Managers (ARHM), the Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA) and a licensed member of the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS).