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Govt to encourage pensioners to downsize to ease housing supply


Pensioners will be encouraged to downsize in order to free up some of the nation’s housing stock, allowing councils to rent out the properties to families.

Housing minister Grant Shapps says councils should offer help to pensioners to move into smaller properties and free up accommodation for families to help address the nation’s housing shortage.

As part of the plans, councils would be responsible for maintaining and renting the properties, at affordable rates, and would transfer any profit from the rent back to the owner.

Shapps told The Telegraph: “For too long the housing needs of the elderly have been neglected. Older people who should be enjoying their homes have watched helplessly as their properties have become prisons and many have been forced to sell their homes and move into residential care.

“With nearly a fifth of our population expected to be over 65 by 2020, radical and urgent change is needed to ensure the nation’s housing needs are met. They can live independently for longer and enjoy more disposable income without selling their home, and other families can benefit from living in an affordable home.”


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There are 9 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Scott Taylor-Barr 17th January 2012 at 9:39 am

    I can’t beleive I’m going to say this; that almost sounds like a good idea on the face of it.

  2. No doubt the detailed proposals will help determine the attractiveness of this to the elderly homeowner. Advisers should regard it as an extra option to consider alongside letting-out privately for those who do not wish to stay in their current home and take equity release. Simon Chalk, Equity Release Planner, Bower Retirement Services.

  3. I am sure the Duke of Northumberland will be very peased wuth the government encouraging him to downsize from Alnwick Castle. This government is full of PR

  4. This is targeted at councils.

    A similar encouragement could be created for owner occupiers by making the sale of their home exempt from stamp duty. This would enable them to sell for a higher price and therefore to afford the costs of moving (including the cost of the stamp duty that they would have to pay on their new home).

  5. Senior Citizens have worked hard to buy their homes, which are generally family homes where their offspring and grandchildren can come over and spend time with their parents and grandparents.

    I for one will only leave my HOME (not my house) if I am dragged kicking and screaming from the property, that is of course after I have done some serious damage to those who threaten my security.

    What do these insensitive bumbling fools think we are, idiots to be forced to move to make up for their failings in not controlling immigration and not building low cost homes ?

    If an elderly homeowner wishes to downsize then a good incentive would be to allow the proceeds to reside outside their estate for IHT and CGT for their lifetime and for the benefit of their beneficiaries.

    It’s bad enough that these robbers steal peoples homes to pay for LTC, now they want the elderly to “make way” for the young.

    Rubbish idea, ill conceived and poorly presented.

    These are supposed to be the more intelligent of our species. Pathetic !

  6. @Ned Naylor – Whoops, didn’t read the article then Ned? Or just another bad day?

    Its only refering to council houses. As even DC is not moronic enough to propose this for the privately owned sector, although having just (I understand) rejected the call for an Arch Cru inquiry, maybe he is.

    Although this may be badged as a ‘new idea’, it has actually been around for many years, as those of use born on council estates know, trying to overcome the situation of (usually) widowed old ladies living in 3 bedroom council houses.

  7. A scheme with some merit.

    I assume this will apply to Royalty, all second homes, empty holiday homes, 714,000 registered empty homes. That lot will be over one million properties, before we target the homes of the elderly

  8. Ned or Stephen Coopers interpretation of this article???

    It implies downsizing and allowing the council to rent the home out, then transferring any profit from the rent back to the owner.

    I think Ned has got it right and Cooper has got it wrong.

    Ex Council – privately owned properties are simply privately owned properties.

    It appears that the govt in doing this want to increase their income tax grab that the owner would be liable for on the rent.

    Maintaining the value of and indeed even increasing the value of the estate is good for an IHT grab on the state as well.

    Devil always in the detail. An option I suppose but as with every option proposed by Govt. the main beneficiary is the Govt.

  9. Spot on Darren.
    By the time takes their cut there will be nothing in it for the home owner.

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