Age UK London is beginning work to raise awareness of the needs of older private sector tenants in London to find solutions to problems they face.
There are 146,000 households renting privately in London where at least one person is aged over 50, and projections suggest this number will rise. Between 2009 and 2014, the number of flat sharers aged 45 to 54 soared by 300%.
Using funding it has received from the Nationwide Foundation, Age UK London’s 18-month project will focus specifically on the challenges and vulnerabilities faced by older renters in the capital. Research will inform clear policy ‘asks’, targeting the Mayor of London, London Assembly, London borough councils and organisations representing the private rented sector to improve the living conditions of older, vulnerable private renters across the capital.
The project also aims to devise models of direct support for older Londoners who are suffering poor living conditions or are at risk of having to move out of London. It will also produce practical resources; both for older renters to enable them to self-advocate and for organisations wishing to support them.
There are a number of specific issues affecting people in the private sector as they age. In general terms, London is experiencing rocketing rents, pressure on affordable housing and housing which is not always fit for purpose. A quarter of London households now rent privately and this percentage is expected to increase to 37% by 2025 (The Mayor’s Housing Covenant 2016).
Increasing rents - the average rent for a two-bedroom property in London is now 53% of the average single person’s salary (Rental Values, Savills and Rightmove, 2012). This has resulted in 39% of private renters in Londoners living below the poverty line (New Policy Institute, 2013).
According to the Census 2011 (ONS), in London, there were:
Number of Households Privately Renting
Aged 50 - 64 128,894
Aged 65 + 16,698
Total Aged 50+ 145,502
Specifically, the number of private renters aged over 55 years in London is set to increase significantly in the next ten years.
• A survey (2014, SpareRoom) found between 2009 and 2014, the number of flat sharers aged 45 to 54 soared by an alarming 300% resulting in increased projected private renting status of those in their late fifties
• There has been an increase in the proportion of 45-54 years olds privately renting from 10% to 15% in between 2003-04 and 2013-14 (English Household Survey, 2013-2014 ref 4.4 ref 4.4)
• “If present tenure patterns continue there will be a growing minority of younger older households (aged 65-79) who will be private renters.” (Older Londoners and the London Plan GLA 2016, page 7)…. “There will be increasing numbers of younger older households (aged 65-79) who will be private renters” (Older Londoners and the London Plan GLA 2016, page 12).
• Research, published July 2015 by York University for Chartered Institute of Housing, forecast that the proportion of older people renting will grow rapidly – one third by 2040.
The Nationwide Foundation
The Nationwide Foundation is an independent charity. The Nationwide Foundation’s funding strategy has a vision that everyone in the UK should have access to a decent home they can afford. Funding of £90,060 to Age UK London has been awarded to improve the living conditions for vulnerable tenants in private rented sector homes. The Nationwide Foundation is a registered charity (no 1065552) and has limited liability being a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales (no. 3451979). Registered office address: Nationwide House, Pipers Way, Swindon, SN38 1NW. The principle benefactor of the Nationwide Foundation is Nationwide Building Society.