Posted by Laura Sheath

Renting a Retirement Living Flat in the UK: A Step-by-Step Guide

When you want to enjoy the lifestyle that a retirement village offers but don’t want to commit to buying property, renting a retirement flat can be a practical solution.

If you're considering renting a retirement living flat in the UK, read this step-by-step guide and then compare your options on Autumna to get started.


Four retirees enjoy drinks in the garden of their rental accommodation

Where do you want to live?

Retirement living is about enjoying your later years, so think about what you want from your day-to-day routine. 

For some older adults, staying in their local area is really important whereas for others, venturing out to find retirement communities near the sea or in a bustling city with lots of local community clubs is highly appealing. 

And of course, family and friends are important. Being close to your children or siblings might matter or perhaps you’re happy to tuck yourself away near the tranquillity of afar.  

Ultimately, where you rent your new home needs to make you happy. There are hundreds of retirement living communities all around the UK from The Fitzroy in Falmouth to Albert Court in Oxfordshire to Landale Court in Kincardineshire

While you may already have your feet firmly rooted in your hometown, it’s still fun to look around. 

What can you expect from renting a retirement flat?

The same high-standard home that you’d expect from buying a retirement flat or bungalow. You’ll still have access to the facilities on-site which might include:

  • Communal lounges and gardens
  • On-site gyms and swimming pools
  • Laundry facilities
  • 24-hour emergency call systems
  • Car parking
  • Secure entry systems
  • On-site restaurants and cafes
  • Guest suites for visitors

The main difference when you rent rather than buy is the freedom you have to leave if you change your mind or want to try a new location.

Step 1: Determine your budget

Before you start your search for a retirement living flat, it's important to determine your budget.

You'll want to consider your current financial situation and any retirement income you have including private pensions, a state pension and benefits like Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance or Carer’s Allowance. 

Retirement living flats can vary in price depending on their location, size, amenities and the provider. For example in Northampton, renting a retirement flat from The Hawthorns could cost around £2,000 a month.

However, in Bristol, a retirement flat from Pegasus could cost £2,550 a month. 

Then, up in Birmingham, renting a retirement apartment from McCarthy Stone  could cost £2,070 a month.

You may find it helpful to seek advice from a financial adviser who can calculate how much your outgoings could be if you rent a retirement apartment. They can help you determine what your budget is and how long it would be financially sustainable to rent.

Step 2: Research retirement living communities

Once you have a budget and location in mind, start researching retirement living communities in your desired area. 

You can do this by comparing retirement living communities on Autumna. Use the simple filters to search for the ideal community for you.

Screenshot showing the type of retirement community facilities that can be searched for on Autumna


Look for communities that offer the amenities you desire, such as gyms, swimming pools, gardens, and communal spaces. 

Some retirement operators provide guest suites on-site for family and friends, which is great if you’d rather rent a one-bedroom apartment.

Step 3: Schedule a tour

Once you've found a few retirement living communities that meet your criteria, schedule a tour to visit them in person. You can do this on Autumna by selecting the “Book a Visit” button in the top right hand corner.

Screenshot showing Autumna listing for Lakeside Retirement Community in Kent

This will give you a chance to see the facilities and amenities firsthand, talk to staff members, and get a sense of the community.

Step 4: Understand the costs of renting a retirement living flat

When renting a retirement living flat, it's important to understand the costs involved. In addition to the monthly rent, you may be required to pay additional fees, such as:

Service charge: This is a fee that covers the cost of:

  • Maintaining communal areas, such as gardens and hallways
  • Water rates
  • Domestic support
  • Emergency call system
  • Future maintenance funds
  • Staff costs

Council tax: This is a tax that is paid to the local council to fund local services.

Utility bills:
You'll usually be responsible for paying for your own gas, electricity, and water bills. However, some retirement living operators such as Abbeyfield, for example, have utilities included.

Step 5: Check if pets are allowed

If you have a pet, it's important to check if pets are allowed in the retirement living community you're interested in. Some communities may have restrictions on the size or type of pet you can have, though you may be surprised at the number of retirement communities that welcome well-behaved pets.

Step 6: Review the rental agreement

If you find a retirement living flat that you're interested in renting, review the rental agreement carefully and ideally with a solicitor.

Autumna’s trusted legal partners are Parfitt Cresswell who have offices throughout the country. Talk to them about your Will, Lasting Power of Attorney or help with any retirement property rental or purchase agreements

Your retirement property rental agreement will outline the terms and conditions of the rental, including the length of the lease, the monthly rent, and any fees that may be charged, such as a security deposit or administration fees.

The retirement living operator that you choose to rent from should make the terms and conditions of your rental agreement clear to you so that you are fully aware of what’s expected from you. However, having a solicitor on hand to check the agreement can be useful because they should highlight any clauses or sections of the contract that could affect you.

Step 7: Reserve your new home

Usually, to reserve a retirement living apartment or bungalow, you’ll need to put down a (refundable) deposit. Depending on the operator’s rules, this may be offset against your first month’s rental payment.

Step 8: Sign the rental agreement

If you're happy with the rental agreement and the retirement living community you've chosen, it's time to sign the rental agreement, get your move-in date and begin the process of moving in.

Some retirement living operators can even assist with organising the move and Autumna works with The Senior Move Partnership who can ensure your move is as stress-free as possible.

The benefits of renting a retirement living home

  • You can enjoy carefree living with hassle-free maintenance as any issues with the rental property will be swiftly sorted out for you.
  • Renting a property is faster and more flexible than buying, making it easier for you to move in and out whenever you want.
  • Budgeting is made simple as you only need to make a single monthly payment, which usually includes service charges and maintenance, (though every provider is different)
  • By renting, you can free up money and use the equity from selling your existing property (if you have one) to do more of what you love.
  • Renting also gives you access to all the community events, services, and amenities on offer at your chosen retirement development
  • By renting and not buying, you don't pay Stamp Duty (which can proportionally be quite a lot depending on the market value of the property).

How to search for over 55’s retirement living properties to rent in the UK

More and more operators are making it easier to rent a flat, bungalow, or house in a retirement village or community. So, if you are looking to downsize and simplify your life then Autumna can offer you a head start.

You can compare the different retirement providers near you online or just call our advice line team on 01892 335 330.

Receive a Free Retirement Property Shortlist!

Let our expert team of advisers get your search off to a great start.  

Tell us a little about your needs and we'll send you a bespoke shortlist of retirement homes that you can rent! Click the button below to begin, it takes just a few minutes.

Get your Free Retirement Home Shortlist

People also ask

Can I get home care if I rent a retirement flat?

If you want home care services to come to you at your retirement living apartment it shouldn’t be an issue. Still, it’s always a good idea to check with the retirement community House Manager - if there is one - or the retirement living operator. 

Many retirement communities have camera entry systems, so keeping a log of who comes in and out of the site is fairly straightforward. 

Some retirement living operators offer home care services as an additional add-on. One good way to find them is to select the ARCO (Associated Retirement Community Operators) button in 'Additional filters' on an Autumna Retirement Living search.

Screenshot of ARCO search on Autumna

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