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Older generations are increasingly opting to downsize and rent in their later years reports Ellie O’Donnell

New research from letting agents Countrywide has revealed that the number of retirees renting in later life has increased, making up to eight per cent of the private renting population compared to just over five per cent 10 years ago.

Retirement property rental specialists Girlings report that Countrywide’s research reflects its own experience in the market, due in part to older people’s changing attitude towards renting.

A survey from Strutt & Parker and Octopus Healthcare also found that one in five baby boomers over 65 would now consider renting.

As for the reasonings behind retirees wanting to downsize, Strutt & Parker and Octopus Healthcare  found that:

  • 34 per cent they would move if they required more support
  • 33 per cent wanted lower property maintenance
  • 26 per cent wanted a more accessible home with fewer stairs

Nevertheless, a worry for 42 per cent of those surveyed was that there aren’t enough rental properties to move to. Strutt & Parker commented there is a clear demand “for a new breed of retirement communities in the UK”.

With the expectation of a 50 per cent rise in the number of people aged over 65 in the next 20 years to 17.2 million and those over 85 expected to more than double to 3.2 million, there is a clear need for more suitable retirement properties.

Peter Girling, Chairman of Girlings Retirement Rentals, says, “Renting enables people to step off the property ladder, sell their homes and release capital to help fund retirement. They can downsize to a more manageable sized property, with added support services included in the rent – and be free from the burden of property maintenance or upkeep.”

Michael Allen (pictured above) has been living in a Girlings rented property in Weston-Super-Mare since January 2016.

Now widowed, Michael, 76, had previously lived in Spain with his wife Judith and dog Bee, but after Judith became ill, the couple chose to sell their property and move back to the UK.

Unfortunately, their plans to move to Bridgewater in Somerset were changed after Judith’s illness escalated and she had to be move into a hospice. She died in 2015.

Michael, a former prison officer, lived with his son and granddaughters for four months before deciding he wanted to a find a home close by. He was worried about finding a private landlord that would allow dogs and the security of renting long term. After an Internet search, his son found Girlings Retirement Rentals which specialises in retirement rental properties on assured tenancies.

Magnolia Grange

They found Magnolia Grange, a development owned by Girlings in the charming village of Worle, nearby Weston-Super-Mare. It was perfect for Michael’s needs; it was accepting of Bee and offered assured tenancies.

Michael says, “I was aware there would be certain restrictions to having Bee with me, such as her not being allowed in the gardens or communal areas, but everyone was very welcoming of her. Many of the residents asked if she could come into the lounge area to see them. I would sometimes take her in, but only after checking if everyone there was happy first.”

Micheal lives in one of the 23 one and two bedroom apartments on offer. He lives on the ground floor in a one bedroom. All apartments are fully fitted with kitchens and built-in oven, hob and hood, fridge, freezer and washer/dryer, a bathroom with a shower over the bath and a lounge/dining room. Having sold all of his furniture when he moved from Spain, Michael was happy that the apartments had built-in appliances!

Magnolia Grange offers a range of services for the ease and comfort of residents:

  • Security systems in each apartment
  • TV surveillance at the main entrance
  • 24-hour careline service
  • Guest suite
  • Residents lounge
  • Communal gardens
  • Lift to all floors
  • Car park

There is a house-manager on-site during week days and service team responsible for:

  • Window cleaning
  • Gardening
  • External maintenance

Michael is an active community member, he volunteers at the hospice, plays bowls and is involved in many activities hosted at the development. He loves what Magnolia Grange has to offer and the lifestyle he can lead.

“I want to help out where I can and make people happy. I volunteer at the hospice once a week, and I am part of a buddy group for people who have been through a similar experience to me or who are widowed. When I first moved into the Girlings property I did find it quiet to begin with, but now I’ve got a lot of friends and take part in many social activities.”

Michael says that he and the other tenants understand that not everyone wants to be as sociable as he is.

“We all respect the fact that not everyone wants to get involved, but we all look out for each other and if we notice that someone is lonely or upset about anything, there is always a friendly face you can speak to. I feel very privileged to live here. Not only are the facilities fantastic, but everyone has been very welcoming and the apartment is comfortable”.

To find a property to rent click on a pale blue pin on our map here or visit www.girlings.co.uk