Why older couples should consider downsizing and then rent instead of buy

A recent article in the Daily Telegraph looked at why older people don’t wish to downsize in their later years. The article highlighted some of the main obstacles, such as a lack of appealing smaller homes, the expense of moving, including stamp duty, and no decent bank savings rates to provide an adequate return from any extra money left over from a house sale.

Retired people in the UK currently own a third of the nation’s housing stock. Enabling them to downsize would free up much needed family houses and give them the opportunity to release their capital, invest in their future and enjoy their retirement, living in housing that meets all their future needs.

We believe there is a simple answer to the current housing shortage and that is for older people to consider downsizing to a purpose built retirement property and renting on an assured tenancy. Choosing to rent in ones later years is a sensible solution and one which thousands of Girlings’ tenants can recommend.

Equally, if older people downsize it will free up much needed family housing for people further down the ladder. The latest statistics from the Home Builders Federation state that we are still some way off the 220- 250,000 new houses that are needed to be built per year to satisfy current demand.

The sale of a larger family home enables older people to downsize into property which is more suitable for their needs (so it is crucial that suitable property is available) and also frees up capital which can be invested to provide an income; gifted to relatives or used to enjoy a better quality of life.

The provision of an assured (‘lifetime’) tenancy removes any obstacle to renting by providing the peace of mind that people can live in their new home for as long as they wish. Furthermore, should circumstances alter in the future there is not the frustration of trying to sell a retirement property in an uncertain market and the ensuing worry for family and friends.

Our continuing message to government is that the UK desperately needs more purpose built retirement property so that older people have the option to downsize. Today, less than 3% of housing in the pipeline is aimed at older people and yet, in 20 years’ time, those aged 65 or over will make up 23% of the population.

Many older people are stuck in homes that are too big for them, have little choice of a suitable alternative and perceive the obstacles to enjoying a better quality of life in their later years are insurmountable. There is another option….


  1. Anne foster
    Posted 20th August 2015 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    yes we agree with the above but most over 60,s would like to rent a bungalow with a garden and in the area where they now live and not in an ‘Apartment’ that’s what should be being built now. It seems you have only apartments in the Fylde area and in a lot of areas.

  2. Michael Hollands
    Posted 26th August 2015 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    The problems are as follows
    Lack of will of Developers to build this type of specialised property. More quick profits in building 3/4/5 bed roomed houses, many of them 3 storeys.
    Shortage of suitable sites which are near to the facilities older people require.
    The current Leasehold system is very unfair to leaseholders.
    There is a great reluctance on the part of this Government to regulate this system.
    Some of the companies who manage these complexes have a bad reputation.
    The initial cost of these properties when new is high, often more than the value of the property the elderly is downsizing from.
    This in turn with sometimes very high management charges and Exit Fees makes the move too expensive.
    And of course it reflects in the high cost of renting these properties.

  3. audrey wolton
    Posted 29th August 2015 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    do you have any properties in Warwickshire. we are looking in the warwick/leamington sMy husband is registered blind he is 83 and I am 79.

    We live in an upstairs 4 bed maisonette and want to down size,sell and rent,

  4. Posted 7th September 2015 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Dear Audrey – thank you for making contact with us. We are more than happy to help you with your search and would like to make direct contact with you but cannot do so without your agreement. Can you kindly confirm that our team can make contact with you via your email address? Alternatively, if you would like to contact us, we have a Freephone number 0800 525 184 and any of our Lettings team will be able to talk to you about your requirements.

  5. patricia porter
    Posted 29th September 2015 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    we have found a suitable apartment to rent but are still in the process of selling what is the best course of action should we take.

  6. Posted 29th September 2015 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Dear Patricia – thank you for making contact with us. We are delighted to hear that you have found a suitable property to rent. Your question has been passed to our Lettings Centre Manager, who will be in contact with you shortly. I understand that he has spoken with you about the property that you are interested in.

  7. Margaret Osborne
    Posted 8th December 2015 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    I would love to rent a retirement apartment, however I have two cats that go outside…..unfortunately this prohibits me from renting due to the ‘indoor cat’ policy!

  8. Posted 8th December 2015 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Dear Margaret – thank you for your comment and you are correct in what you say: cats do have to remain indoors and are not allowed to roam the communal areas, which includes the gardens. This is a requirement of the lease and not a policy that Girlings has applied. I understand that you have been speaking with Linda in our Lettings Team, and your comment has been forwarded to her for information.

  9. Morag Orr
    Posted 16th January 2016 at 5:13 am | Permalink

    I am planning to return to the UK from Australia this year owing to the recent death of my husband. I want the Cheltenham area where I have lived before and would prefer a two bedroom apartment – is there much available and what is included in the leasing agreement.

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