April 24, 2024

Girlings: Renting in a retirement community could help isolated elderly

What are people’s opinion of this from Girlings, please

Last month The Department of Health announced that it is creating a ‘loneliness map’ to show areas in the UK where elderly people feel most isolated. According to Age UK as many as one in 10 pensioners or 90,000 people in Britain are lonely. However, the problem could be alleviated if more retirement developments were available with good communal facilities suggests Girlings Retirement Rentals, the retirement rental specialists.

Peter Girling, Chairman of Girlings Retirement Rentals comments, “Loneliness in old age is a major social problem that is often linked to poor health. It is good to see the government taking action to address this issue – asking local councils and NHS health trusts to examine loneliness in later life. However, it must also consider how and where people live in retirement as part of the solution. There is an acute shortage of retirement housing available at present.”

Girlings offers apartments in purpose built retirement developments across the UK with facilities including a residents’ lounge, gardens and guest rooms. Typically regular social activities are organised within the developments to bring people to together. It is this sense of community that appeals to many residents.

Take 68 year old Rosie Morgan, who recently relocated from Wiltshire and moved into a one bedroom apartment in Jubilee Court, a retirement development in Weston-Super-Mare through Girlings.

Although her home in Wiltshire was near friends and family, Rosie was so attracted by the friendly community atmosphere and high quality apartments there that she decided to move. Rosie now enjoys an active social life.  She moved in and joined a local Arts and Craft club and regularly walks into town to meet friends for lunch. Rosie is very happy and has made many good friends.  She says that life ‘couldn’t be better’.

Peter Girling adds, “We need to see greater numbers of one bedroom and studio apartments made available for older people to rent or buy at affordable prices in retirement developments with plenty of good communal facilities. People can then live independently, but surrounded by a community of neighbours and friends of a similar age which would help combat loneliness. As we are an ageing population this problem isn’t going to go away.”

“Living in a retirement community has many social and financial benefits, and I hope that this loneliness map marks the beginning of practical solutions being implemented to benefit elderly people in the UK.”



  1. From Susan

    To hi-jack a previous famous remark, in another context: “He would say that, wouldn’t he?”

    I don’t know about the Age UK’s ‘loneliness’ figures, but they are meaningless, unless viewed globally. How many people of any age report they are lonely? Could be well over 10%. From the data presented, we really can’t conclude that ‘communal retirement living’ is the answer. Though clearly it works for some people.

    Certainly, renting a retirement property makes far more financial sense than buying. And the Office of Fair Trading’s recent report on exit fees may mean that more rental properties become available. However, communal living carries its own disadvantages. I can imagine nothing worth than feeling lonely within a toxic community of non-like-minded people overseen by a controlling house manager. The chance to rent can only be a good thing, as it brings flexibility not possible with purchase.

    However, there are other choices too – sophisticated telecare options, which enable people to stay safely in their own homes. And exploring communal arrangements with groups of friends. The traditional ‘retirement developments’ on offer represent only one of the options available. And ‘loneliness’ and ‘being alone’ are not the same thing at all.

  2. Totally agree with Susan – “He would say that, wouldn’t he?”
    I am not, but if I was on a basic to low goverment pension where would I find a nice flat to rent in one of these wonderful purpose built retirement developments across the UK with facilities including a residents’ lounge, gardens and guest rooms that my pension could afford.
    Some people need to get real here and look at what the country really doesnt do for the elderly (Unless you have money to burn). Most of these “wonderful” complexes have extortinate rents – they have to because the Leasee has extortinate service charges (which, quite rightly you cannot get help on from government befits) from the likes of our friends Peverel of many names.
    “There is an acute shortage of retirement housing available at present.” I do not believe this whatsoever. What I do believe is that “There is an acute shortage of retirement housing available at present that a typical old person can afford”.
    Why are we still using the word retirement anyway. It should be removed from the dictionary with the changes made by the government. If you have to be “retired” to qualify for occupancy some of us will be in our late 80s

  3. From FLEECED2

    “I’m surprised Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation would publish propaganda like this by a company promoting itself. Would Mr Girling live in a rented one bedroom or studio rented flat himself? NO! Sounds absolutely ghastly.

    A few local councils have offered Home Share schemes, where an older person stays put in their own home, providing free accommodation to a suitable young person in return for ten hours a week assistance with domestic chores, gardening or whatever. It has proved to be very successful meeting the needs of both younger and older age groups. At least you can guarantee young people are IT literate and could pass on a few tips..!! This scheme should be encouraged and expanded. Unfortunately, I found out about it after I’d moved. And, yes, private alarm systems can be installed as well in case of emergencies.”

  4. You are right that the article is just a piece of PR propaganda from Girlings.

    Leaving aside that, I wanted a discussion about rental retirement as an alternative to purchased leasehold.

    Until the retirement developers stop introducing income streams into their leases, rental is a sensible option.

    As a capital investment, leasehold retirement flats have an appalling record.


    I disagree with some of the previous comments. I think what Girlings are promoting is worth considering but it must be borne in mind that they are thinking of their own commercial interests.
    The majority, if not all, of the properties they are offering for rent are in the McCarthy and Stone complexes and managed by Peverel. This is not surprising due to Girlings historic connection with these companies which no doubt still continues.
    The properties being offered are probably those which have been almost impossible to sell and have been aquired by Girlings at knock down prices. The choice is very limited, I have investigated the Nottingham area and find only one apartment available in a 30 mile radius of the city.
    Renting one of these properties gives an opportunity to try out this style of living prior to purchasing. If it did not work out at least the dreaded Exit Fee would be avoided. It would be interesting to know if Girlings pay this fee and a contribution to the Contingency Fund on a change of tenant.
    There are a few questions I would want answered before committing.
    1 How often does the rent increase and how would it be calculated.
    2 Are there any additional charges for repairs, renovations or anything the Managers Peverel come up with. Or do
    Girlings settle all these. The other residents who purchased would have to cough up.
    3 Are tenants generally accepted by the other residents. I recall on some complexes opposition to apartments being
    rented out. Can tenants join the Residents Committee and have a say in what goes on.
    I am sure there are satisfactory answers to these questions but it would be interesting to hear direct from some of those who have taken up this option.
    I notice that the weekly rent of the one bed apartment in Nottingham is around £115. Assuming this is an all in figure, then if the usual management fee of around £45 was deducted, it would leave £70 week rent which seems reasonable providing future increases are regulated.
    I hope my comments are accepted as a constructive and reasoned opinion on this subject.

    • John Henche says

      Presumably referring to Beech Croft (NG3 5PZ) where there is also a flat (perhaps it is the same one) available for £450 pcm via a different agent (search Rightmove).

      My personal, admittedly limited, experience of sub-tenants (renters) in retirement housing has not been a good one; indeed they have been something of a nuisance. In my south coast development a small misguided number even attempted formation of a rival residents’ association (supported by the warden, with whom they had much in common) proposing all manner of changes that would have meant leaseholders paying higher service charges whilst the renters have no direct financial responsibility for the payment of such charges and often have no long term commitment to worry about.

      I suspect that in many developments there is some tension, even resentment, between leaseholders who own their flats and the here-today-gone-tomorrow renters of whom some – by no means all, of course – have little or no sense of responsibility or pride in home ownership.

    • It has been a long standing Peverel rule {2000 on pre Concensus days] regarding Residents Associations that only ‘full leaseholders’ have the right to vote – make propositions – or be full members or officer of a Residents Association.

      Others may attend meetings, make comments but not contribute on any executive input.

      This rules out any Girling renters, [that don’t pay service or ground rent charges separately] – and [like myself] any sub leassees – that DO pay regular service charges and ground rent.

      Girlings also pay Exit and Contingency fund fees but this has been reduced lately, refer to http://bit.ly/YGsVHj

  6. I agree 100 per cent with Mr Hollands. Girling have a close connection with Peverel that, in itself, would put me off recommending them as a rental solution. Girling are in it for Girling.

  7. There is no doubt that most people are happier when living socially and feel connected to friends and neighbours instead of being lonely and living alone, as a large and increasing number of people do–with a toll on their health as well as happiness. Anything that addresses that by giving people options as far as living in a community goes is surely better than doing nothing.
    I don’t have any problem with the private sector being involved. The alternative is is to require the government and society as a whole to be responsible, which is simply unworkable. “All” that’s needed is proper regulation and ethical business practices. Whether Girlings is up to the mark I can’t say as I know nothing about them. I’d look to see if they were LKP accredited in the case of leasehold property (best avoided, frankly). Just because Girlings sees an obvious need doesn’t mean it’s not real. And profit is not a dirty word.


    It is interesting to hear your contributor John Henche state that there is a 1 Bed flat in Beech Croft Nottingham . (Peverel Managed). It is on the Rightmove website at £450.00 month rent.
    On the Girlings website the same flat is advertised at £517.50 month.
    It would be interesting to know what extra benefits are provided for the additional £67.50

  9. There is an upmarket scheme known as The Hawthorns that own three buildings in Braintree, Clevedon and Eastbourne offering rented hotel-style accommodation for retired people. That could be ideal for some but not others. Stephen Fry said on TV recently that when he can no longer look after himself he would like to rent a suite in Claridges..!! Yes, nice one, if you can afford it!

    But the renting out of empty flats in private leasehold retirement properties is very undesirable for the reasons already expressed above. I was very surprised to discover landlords allow it especially in the the retirement sector. I lived in a standard RTM leasehold co-ownership scheme flat in London, and when we took over the freehold after the landlord had gone bust, we drew up a new lease retaining the clause prohibiting the right to sub-let while removing the clause that charged after sales ‘exit’ fees, referred to then as a ‘redemption’ fee. It is inevitable that sub-letting/renting our flats is very likely to cause problems with other permanent residents and the standard of building maintenance would be compromised.