Older people in the private rented sector: NFH research report 2023

Older People in the private rented sector NHF COVER

Renting privately is associated with a lack of security, and ongoing issues around conditions and high rents. This research report from the National Housing Federation (NHF) brings together figures from the English Housing Survey and new polling carried out by YouGov for the NHF to examine the scale and impact of the problem for older renters in particular.

The report contatins sections on the figures and projections for older renters in the UK as the country undergoes a major demographic shift, finding that nearly 867,000 households headed by people aged 55 or over are now living in privately rented homes, and explores patterns of poverty amongst older renters. It also details the NHF's polling on impacts of living in the private rented sector on older renters, including the effect on health and wellbeing.

Key findings include that:

  • Since 2010/11 the number of 55+ households in the private rented sector has grown by 70%, compared with a 20% growth in households in this age group overall.
  • Nearly half (48%) of private rented sector tenants aged 65 or over are in the bottom 20% of all household incomes.
  • Two in five older private rented sector tenants (42%) struggle to meet the cost of either bills or essentials or both and almost half (48%) of older private renters worry about getting into debt due to their housing and other living costs being too high.
  • Of those private renters who are retired, around half (49%) believe their quality of life in retirement is significantly impacted by their housing costs. A similar proportion of retirees (48%) cite that they cannot do the activities they hoped to do in retirement due to housing costs (e.g. travelling, social events etc.).
  • Of those older private renters who are currently working, a majority (78%) worry that their future pension will not be able to meet increasing rent prices.