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Living in Sheltered or Retirement Housing

Housing intended specifically for older people is available to rent, to purchase or to part-purchase.

Paying for rentable sheltered housing is the same as renting any other property. You would fund it either from your own income, if that is adequate, or with the help of Housing Benefit.

You may plan to buy a home in a retirement housing development. This would normally be financed through the sale of your present property. However it is also possible for older people to obtain interest only mortgages, where the capital is not repaid until the eventual resale of the home. See Financial Planning.

Retirement housing for sale may be built either by private developers, or by non-profit-making housing associations. Buying such a property is different from buying any other home because of the service contract. The property is likely to be leasehold rather than freehold, and there may be some restrictions over the resale. We strongly suggest that you should assure yourself on the terms of any service agreement and take advice from a solicitor before entering into any agreement to purchase.

If you prefer the security of owning your own home, but cannot afford outright purchase, a shared ownership scheme may suit you. Such schemes provide for you to part buy the property from a council or housing association, usually 25%, 50% or 75%. Most schemes then require you to pay a reduced rent on the remainder of the value.

Some housing associations also offer leasehold schemes in which you purchase a 70% share of the lease (and get back 70% of the market value when the property is resold). Private developers also offer part purchase deals, for example some will offer to part-exchange with your current home.


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