Thousands of older private-sector renters in England have borrowed money from friends and family, including their own children, in the past year to cover their rent, a report suggests.
The research – carried out by the National Housing Federation (NHF), which represents housing associations – found that many over-50s renters cut down on food or heating or use credit to pay their rent.
The NHF said its findings suggest that approaching half a million private renters in the baby boomer generation may have had to take drastic decisions in the past year to cover their rent.
The research among more than 3,900 over-50s found that to pay their rent in the past 12 months, more than one in 10 (12%) private renters – meaning about 130,000 people across England – have borrowed money from family and friends, and 3% (about 40,000 people if the figures are projected across England) have borrowed money from their own children.
At least 194,000 (17%) private renters have had to cut down on food and heating while 113,000 (10%) have had to take out a loan, use their overdraft, or use a credit card.
The NHF said baby boomers are often considered to have been exempt from the effects of the housing crisis as many own their homes outright.
But it said 1.13 million people aged 50 or over are renting from private landlords, and many are struggling with rising rental costs.
David Orr, chief executive of the NHF, which wants to see longer tenancies in the private rented sector, said: "We often hear that young people bear the brunt of the housing crisis but today's report reveals a shocking number of hidden baby boomers who are struggling just as much if not more.
"There is a huge amount of inequality amongst this age group and unfortunately the wealthier majority have hidden the reality of hundreds of thousands of people who have never been able to afford a house."