I am looking for retirement/sheltered housing for older people, ideally I would like to rent somewhere. What are my options?

Most retirement housing and housing-with-care for rent is provided by local authorities and housing associations, but there are some charitable and private sector providers. Landlords generally aim to offer their housing to people in the greatest housing need, at rents which are affordable – perhaps with the help of Housing Benefit. They set criteria describing who qualifies for their housing and which applicants have the highest priority.

Many councils and housing associations have changed the way they allocate properties, and now operate joint application procedures; most have also introduced a system called ‘choice based lettings’, which involves ‘bidding’ for properties advertised weekly or fortnightly.

As the majority of retirement housing to rent is allocated through the local council’s ‘choice based lettings’ system, we would recommend that you contact the housing department of your local council in the first instance, to enquire about their eligibility criteria for joining their housing list. If you are looking to move to a different area from the one that you are currently living, then you will need to approach the council for the area you wish to move to, however if you are not already resident in the area it can be more difficulty to qualify for council housing.

As well as applying to the local council you may also wish to try contacting the following landlords of local retirement housing:

  • Housing Associations
  • Charities (such as Almshouses and Abbeyfields)
  • Private landlords
  • You can search for retirement housing to rent in your area by using the search facility on our website. For each development you should find that we have provided the name of the managing agents and a contact telephone number and/or an option to email them. You can search for accommodation on our website here.

    For more information about your options you may wish to read our information guide Housing and care options for older people