A new lease of life – another property option for retirees 

Posted 15 June 2015 by Keith Osborne

Owning your property is not the only way to benefit from developments dedicated to later living, as Peter Girling of Girlings Retirement Rentals explains.

What kind of customers do you get at Girlings Retirement Rentals? We receive enquiries from a wide range of customers who have different requirements: those who are looking to downsize to free up capital to fund their retirement; those who are renting already but wish to benefit from the security of tenure that we can offer through the assured tenancy and those whose family have moved away and they wish to move nearer to them without the aggravation that comes from purchasing a property in later life. We also receive enquiries from people who live overseas and are wishing to relocate to the UK.

What are the main priorities of your customers? Our customers have many and varied requirements. We are seeing an increase in people downsizing and selling their property outright, taking the capital and investing it to fund their retirement.  The ‘younger’ end of the ‘retirement’ market is attracted by the ‘lock-up-and-leave’ element and the security this delivers, particularly when taking holidays abroad, whereas the ‘older’ end is attracted by the idea of a ready-made community: of particular importance for those who are living alone. The companionship that comes from living amongst like-minded people helps to alleviate feelings of loneliness and gives the resident a new lease of life.

Do you think people generally have misconceptions about ‘retirement property’? It is true to say that there remains a misconception surrounding ‘retirement property’ with many people still thinking that it is more akin to a care home with no privacy for the residents. Purpose-built retirement developments offer an independent lifestyle: the apartments are all self-contained with their own front door so lend themselves to the active, independent customer. For those who are seeking a sense of community the residents’ lounge and communal gardens provide ideal opportunities to meet other residents in a social setting.

Your 'Diamond Collection' properties sound more like luxury hotels. Are they a niche, or becoming the standard of choice for more retirees? The ‘hotel’ style of retirement living is not new – such models are in existence overseas, in the USA for instance. They are now also more widespread in the UK, with several developments across the south of England offering a hotel-style service to their residents. In the past, developers of high-end retirement property have focused primarily on sales to fulfil their requirement for short-term capital return, however we are seeing some developers who recognise that demand for rentals is increasing amongst the older market and they are looking to fulfil this potential by offering properties for rent as well as sale, with rents commensurate with capital value. 

It can be an emotional time, so how do you help people deciding to move to one of your properties? Moving home at any age can be a stressful and emotional time and this is why we treat each enquiry as if it is our first! We have a team who are highly experienced and are trained to deal with the older market and the different nature of problems which may occur. The security which comes from renting on an assured tenancy gives comfort to our customers and the peace of mind that this brings for the family is incalculable. The message we like to give to our customers is that you are never too old to consider a move and that renting in retirement can and does bring with it a new lease of life, free from the worries of home-ownership and its associated maintenance. We hear regularly from tenants who have rented a retirement property with us and wish that they had taken the decision to do so much earlier on.

Find out more at www.girlings.co.uk ; 01823 346800

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