Thousands of millennials could be forced into homelessness when they retire because of the shortage of suitable social housing for older people, a report has found.
The number of people still renting when they reach retirement age is set to more than treble from 450,000 today to over 1.5 million in 2046, an inquiry by a cross-party group of MPs forecasts.
Around half of these households will no longer be able to afford the rent they were able to manage before they retired, because pension income is significantly less, on average, than working-age income.
The report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Housing and Care for Older People said 630,000 households in the private rented sector will need lower-cost accommodation in less than 30 years.
To meet this demand, the government will need to ensure 21,000 properties suitable for older people’s physical and financial needs are built each year.
“We see the likelihood of a significant shortfall in the available places within the current stock since, at present, few retirement schemes are being created,” said Lord Best, who chairs the group.
“The consequence of there being nowhere affordable for these households to go is bound to be homelessness for some and a move into temporary accommodation, at the state’s expense, for others,” the report stated.
It outlines multiple problems faced by older renters including a disproportionate number that are in substandard housing, the difficulty of installing necessary alterations such as handrails and, most significantly, unaffordable rents.
In order to eliminate the “horrors” of so many older homeowners suffering the hazards and hardships of living in homes not fit for human habitation, the report recommends implementing a national strategy for rental housing for later life.
In addition to this, the next government spending review must allocate additional funding for social housing designed for older people, the report stated.
This cost would ultimately save money on the housing benefit bill which is currently in excess of £20bn per year.
The funding would allow suitably sized housing to be offered to more older people in large accommodation, delivering the additional benefit of freeing up bigger homes for younger families.