Challenges faced by the retirement living sector over the last year have highlighted that a change in approach is needed in order to improve its reputation and services. One option is to collaborate with the ‘build to rent' market, creating a new type of community that can benefit both young and old.

What is build to rent?

Simply speaking, a build to rent property is a private, residential property that has been built and designed specifically for the rental market. These homes are typically owned and managed by a company, rather than a private landlord, and are based in dedicated complexes that come with a variety of perks such as a concierge service and leisure facilities.

Finding common ground

Although aimed at different target audiences, both the build to rent and retirement living sectors have relatively similar goals and offerings. Aiming to provide high-quality housing that people aspire to live in, there may be lessons that each can learn from the other.

It is not uncommon for both build to rent and retirement living complexes to provide a range of facilities and leisure offerings to residents, from gyms and swimming pools to cinemas and games rooms. By providing access to onsite care and health facilities, as well as leisure facilities, build to rent complexes could open themselves up to a wider, multi-generational demographic of residents with inclusivity at the core.

Building a community

The benefits of a multi-generational approach are clear for residents. Older people often gain a new lease of life when interacting with those younger than them, and a mixed-generation complex will facilitate those interactions.

Fostering a sense of energy amongst residents, those that have retired will want to keep up rather than slow down. However, any healthcare needs can still be met, with the same high-quality care services they'd receive in a traditional retirement home setting provided, alongside other amenities such as security or concierge services which can make life more secure and easier.

By building a complex that caters to all generations, developers can foster a diverse community, ultimately benefiting residents of any age.

Commercial advantages

There are also a number of commercial benefits to the collaboration of the two sectors. These are:

  • Potential for growth – by catering to more people, there is a higher likelihood of financial growth and income security.
  • Streamlined planning – having a multi-generational community means developers don't have to ask for two separate planning permissions (one for traditional renting and one for retirement housing).
  • More accessible design – by thinking beyond a specific target audience, developers can attract more people through improved inclusivity and, as a result, achieve longer-lasting desirability. Examples of accessible design include wider door frames, ramps and lifts.

With both sectors ultimately having the same goal, build to rent and retirement living developers should look at how they can more closely collaborate in future. From direct financial gains to building a thriving and inclusive community, the two sectors can create homes that everyone wants to live in if they work together.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.