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More housing choices needed for over-55s

More private rented accommodation should be made purposely available to older people.

The call has come from ARLA member Peter Girling, who is chairman of Girling Retirement Rentals, in the wake of a Shelter report, ‘A better fit: creating housing choice for an ageing population’.

Girling said: “We share Shelter’s concerns about the acute shortage of appropriate housing to meet the needs of older people in the UK – from the baby boomers to the over-85s.

“Housing for older people in the UK is simply not being planned, built or thought through. It is a travesty and will lead to long-term social problems and a government-induced crisis.”

He said that by 2030, one in three people in the UK will be over 55 – and as things stand, the supply of appropriate housing to accommodate this ageing population needs to rise by over 70% in the next 20 years.

Girling said there is very little mid-range housing available to rent privately or buy and a huge shortage of bungalows for people with mobility issues.

He added that while many people are living alone in large houses, which could release much-needed family housing stock, it is unrealistic for the Government to think people will downsize without incentives like tax breaks and with so little choice of alternative housing available.

Girling said: “We have seen inquiries for our retirement rental properties rise by 13%.

“We also offer a range of different options available, enabling people to choose whether they want to rent on lifetime tenancies, assured shorthold tenancies or buy their property. Everyone is different and we try to cater to their needs.”

Source EAToday: 19 April 2012