The number of retired people living in the private rented sector has increased dramatically over the last four years, according to a poll of private tenants by the National Landlords Association. The quarterly survey shows there are now 220,000 more retired renters than in 2012 – a growth of 13%.
The nationwide distribution is far from even. London contains just 3% of retired renters, whereas the South East holds 17% – the highest proportion in the UK. Moving North, there is a significant East-West divide. Twice as many retirees rent in the West Midlands (8%) compared to the East Midland (4%), and the North West (15%) has more than three times as many as the North East (4%).
Curiously, the proportion of landlords who let to retired tenants has roughly halved over the same period. Only 9% of landlords surveyed said they currently let to retired tenants, compared to 19% in 2012.
While renting is often thought of as a young person’s game, the findings demonstrate that the private rented sector is becoming a necessary alternative to home ownership for people of all ages.
However, it could also become more difficult for older tenants to find rental property if, as the findings suggest, landlords are reluctant to let to potentially vulnerable tenants.
As the proportion of retired renters grows, will the private rented sector be able to continue to provide the accommodation they need?