More retirees and older people are moving into rented accommodation due to a number of factors, such as downsizing, the cost of maintaining their property, becoming divorced or widowed, and the need to move nearer to their family. Figures from the National Landlords Association show the number of retired people living in rented properties went up by 200,000 between 2012 and 2016 – a rise of 13%. This research shows it is not just the younger generations or Generation Rent who are looking at long-term renting.
Some older people cannot keep up with repairs or maintenance of the family property and so decide to sell. Moving into a smaller, more manageable property, and knowing that any repairs and maintenance will be handled by the landlord offers security to such people. National Landlords Association head of policy, Chris Norris, said the burden of property maintenance is a major factor for older people, who often decide to rent instead. He added that being a private renter is relatively stress free compared to the anxiety and costs involved in a property’s upkeep. People decide to rent rather than buy a smaller property which is easier to maintain, because of the lack of suitable homes, plus high stamp duty costs. Other older people decide to sell up because of divorce or when a partner dies. Some decide that they want to be more flexible rather than being tied to a house or they want to use the proceeds of their home to supplement their pension or income.
However, there is a lack of suitable accommodation for this sector. Many properties to let are in shared blocks with stairs, which could prove to be a problem as tenants become older, or they are family homes which are too large for single people or couples.
Older people and retirees could make good tenants, as they are more likely to stay in a house for longer, once they have found something that suits their needs. They are also likely to take care of a property and tend to a garden. If looking for buy-to-let investments for these older renters, there are a few things to bear in mind. They may prefer a bungalow to a house, or an apartment with a lift and shared outdoor space. Many will also want an allocated parking space or driveway, as they will not want the hassle of looking for somewhere to park or having to leave the car more than a few yards from their property.
Being close to supermarkets and shops will also be important, so that they can easily walk for their daily groceries. They will also like to be near the local doctor’s surgery and community centre or social club. If they get a free bus pass, they are more likely to use public transport and so a property close to a bus stop or train station would also suit their needs. The location is key to older tenants, who will want to feel secure in the neighbourhood, so perhaps an area which is already popular with people of a similar age is worth considering.