Up to 500,000 so-called Baby Boomers have been hit by allegedly unaffordable rents and a lack of appropriate housing for older people.
That’s the claim made by the National Housing Federation which says that last year 44 per cent of private renters in England aged 50 and over – almost 500,000 people - were forced to make potentially drastic decisions to cover the cost of their rent, including borrowing money from their own children, taking out loans and cutting down on food and heating.
Some 25 per cent of those aged 50 plus who moved house in the last three years have been forced to do so against their will, often because of private landlords apparently selling up.
The federation says many more are stuck in unsuitable housing, leaving people unable to wash, go to the toilet or leave their homes independently.
Baby boomers are often considered to have been exempt from the effects of the housing crisis as the majority of them own homes outright. However, the NHF believes some 1.13m aged 50 and over are renting from private landlords today.
Ten years ago 651,000 people aged 50 and over lived in privately rented housing.
The research, which includes a YouGov poll of 3,935 people in England aged 50 and over, shows that in order to pay their rent in the last 12 months:
- more than one in 10 private renters – around 130,000 people – have borrowed money from family and friends;
- around 40,000 borrowed money from their own children;
- at least 194,000 private renters had to cut down on food and heating; and
- at least 113,000 had to take out a loan, use their overdraft, or use a credit card.
“We often hear that young people bear the brunt of the housing crisis but [this] report reveals a shocking number of hidden baby boomers who are struggling just as much, if not more. There is a huge amount of inequality amongst this age group and unfortunately the wealthier majority have hidden the reality of hundreds of thousands of people who have never been able to afford a house, and are now being failed by the broken housing market” says David Orr, NHF chief executive.
The National Housing Federation is calling on government to urgently put more money in to directly building social housing, ensure long term funding for supported and sheltered housing for people who need extra support in their home, and ensure there are longer and more secure tenancies for people in the private rented sector.