Lifelong tenancies for older property tenants seen as growth sector in UK

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Lifelong tenants seen as growth market in UK

The number one attraction for people who choose to rent property in the UK in retirement is having a lifelong, assured tenancy agreement, according to new research.

A third of people questioned said that security of tenure, allowing them to remain in their property for the rest of their lives, was the top consideration when they decided to rent in later life, a survey from Girlings Retirement Rentals shows.

Some 19% said location was key and 15% of people said that price was the most important factor. Other important considerations were the size of property and proximity to friends and family.

It also found that eight out of 10 people who now rent in retirement would recommend renting to friends and, almost half, 46%, said they were financially better off now they are renting. This is significant, as 83% of people said that after health, the challenge of funding their retirement was their biggest worry.

People had different motivations for opting to rent in retirement. Half had been homeowners who had sold their properties to rent and free up capital to fund retirement, whilst 41% had been renting in the open market but decided to move into private retirement accommodation to benefit from a lifelong, assured tenancy. Many were keen also to have additional support in later life so having services on site such as having a 24 hour care line in case of emergency and a house manager were major attractions.

Mike Wise, a former nuclear engineer, moved into a one-bedroom retirement apartment in Dorset last year on a lifelong, assured tenancy agreement through Girlings. He thinks it was one of the smartest moves he has ever made both financially and personally. ‘It has given me the financial freedom to pursue my love of travel and writing. There is also a great community spirit and I don’t have to worry about my apartment when I am away,’ he said.

Peter Girling, chairman of Girlings Retirement Rentals, believes the sector is likely to see growth. ‘The rental market is continuing to expand and economists predict this will continue until at least 2015 as current high house prices make home ownership unaffordable for many people. A greater number of people will choose to rent in later life too for financial reasons and because they can secure lifelong tenancies, giving them a similar level of security to homeownership but without maintenance worries and bills,’ he explained.

‘We have seen a 25% increase in tenant numbers over the last three years and with an uncertain property market and a wider acceptance of the benefits of renting in later life, we believe tenant numbers will continue to increase through 2011 and beyond,’ he added.

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