THE UK’s growing number of older private renters face distinct challenges which could worsen the nation’s housing crisis.

That’s according to research led by the University of Stirling on behalf of the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE).

According to figures published by the Department for Work and Pensions, the private-rented sector in the UK is now comprised of more than 4.5 million households. In the 10 years to April 2018, the proportion of private renters in the 35- to 54-years-old category has almost doubled and now accounts for 41%.

Renters over 35 are often overlooked when analysis of the private-rented sector takes place, yet they endure several distinct issues which do not impact younger people to the same extent.

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New research from the Faculty of Social Sciences on behalf of CaCHE, has specifically looked at renters aged 35-54 and their experiences of private renting. The study found that as well as encountering similar issues as younger renters – unaffordable rents, insecure housing and poor quality properties – older renters also experienced distinct issues, such as the impact on family life, challenges in adapting properties for age-related health and mobility impairments, as well as being aged out of a mortgage.

The study found that while younger people encountering a difficult living experience can often think that things will get better, the Beyond Generation Rent report found that many of the over 35 study group felt a sense of hopelessness at their situation.

The report was co-authored by Dr Kim McKee from the University of Stirling and Dr Adriana Mihaela Soaita and Professor Moira Munro from the University of Glasgow.

CaCHE is jointly funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Dr McKee, senior lecturer and head of housing, said: “Much academic and popular attention is paid to so-called ‘Generation Rent’ – the growing number of younger people trapped in the private rented sector. However, much less is known about the experiences of renters over 35, so this research seeks to begin addressing that gap.

“Tenants want safe, secure and affordable homes but for some private tenants that is just not within their reach as our report highlights."