This week, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Housing and Care for Older People has released a new report titled “Rental Housing for an Ageing Population”. Following on from last week’s blog looking into the “Decent and Accessible Homes Report” (by the APPG on Ageing and Older People) we’re going to take a leaf through the findings of the “Rental Housing for an Ageing Population” report. You can read the report in full by clicking here.
The first thing to state is that it is pleasing to see the concerns of older private renters taken seriously. For too long there has been an assumption that “generation rent” refers only to younger renters making their first steps onto the property ladder. In reality, the number of older private renters is growing steeply, with the number of households in the private rented sector headed by someone aged over 64 expected to treble over the next 25 to 30 years. We highlighted this expected increase within our research report “Living in Fear”, which looked into the experiences of older private renters in London. It is pleasing to see that our research was referenced by the Rental Housing for an Ageing Population report.
The APPG’s report, discovers many of the same concerns for older private renters as our Living in Fear research. Namely that older private tenants feel the absence of security of tenure, the costs of high rents, and an inability to secure the repairs and adaptations needed to live safely and securely at home. While these issues affect renters of all ages, there are specific challenges that the private rented sector poses for many older tenants. For example, most older private renters do not expect their incomes to increase in the near future, making it harder to react to rising rent costs. In addition, many older private renters are living with long-term conditions or limited mobility which can make the prospect of moving home especially unappealing. Some older renters we spoke to were enduring high rents at the expense of living standards to avoid the difficulty of moving. The “no-fault eviction” clause Section 21 made things even more challenging, as many of the older private renters we spoke to avoided requesting repairs, maintenance, or accessibility adaptations on their flat for fear of being seen as a “problem tenant” and evicted.
“We note that, since three quarters of people over pension age currently live in their own homes, immediate pressures to build age-friendly accommodation to rent are relatively modest.”