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'Retired tenants spending record sums on rent' - Countrywide

Retired tenants are becoming a larger part of the rental market, according to the UK's largest letting agency.

Countrywide reports that pensioners paid a total of £3.7 billion in rent over the last 12 months.

This represents a rise of over 200% in the last decade when compared to the £1.2 billion paid in 2007.

The agency's Letting Index calculates that retired tenants now pay £1 of rent in every £14 – equivalent to 7.3%.

The average rent for a silver renter so far this year is £810 per month, up 0.3% since 2016 and almost a fifth since 2007.

Typically, retired tenants pay 12% less than the average tenant. Countrywide says this is due to them renting smaller properties.

According to the findings, retired people now account for around 8% of all private tenants, up from 5.2% a decade ago.

The highest proportion of retired renters is in Wales, where almost one in five tenants are pensioners.

“The rental market can no longer be typified by the image of carefree, young professionals," says Johnny Morris, Countrywide's research director.

"More than half of tenants are over 30 and the number of pensioners renting has reached record levels."

He adds: "With younger generations growing up much less likely to be homeowners, tenants are getting older with an ever more diverse group of people calling the rented sector home."

Countrywide's monthly index shows that average rents across the whole market were up just 0.1% last month when compared to May 2016.

Average London rents fell for the seventh consecutive month although at a slower rate (-1.5%) than in April (-3.4%).

The agency calculates that the average national rent for a new let in May was £946, up from £936 in March.

“Seven consecutive months of falling rents in the capital are starting to show signs of rippling out across the country with rents down in over half of regions outside London," adds Morris.

"The number of homes on the market remains well up on last years’ levels, softening rental growth.”

Last week, HomeLet reported that average UK rents fell for the first time in eight years during May.

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