People in their 60s who live in rented accommodation are more likely to be in poor health than their home-owning peers, research suggests.
The report by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found 42% of people aged 65 to 69 who rent reported bad health compared with just 27% who owned their home outright.
Differences in health above age 70 were less pronounced because health is more likely to worsen for all at later ages, the report said.
There was a similar although less pronounced pattern for people reporting having a limiting chronic illness, with private renters more likely than homeowners to report a limiting longstanding illness in early later life, and social renters the most likely to report a limiting longstanding illness at all ages.
The report found older homeowners are more likely to have worked in higher managerial and professional occupations, have higher incomes and live in more affluent areas.
By contrast, those living in the private rented sector in later life are more likely to have worked in semi-routine and routine occupations, have lower incomes, live in more deprived areas and are more likely to live in poorer quality housing.
The ONS said although there are many other factors that contribute health status in later life, a lifetime of exposure to poor housing quality will have a cumulative effect on health.
“Poor-quality homes that are damp, contain vermin and are difficult to keep warm can lead to respiratory and cardiovascular problems, and homes that are hazardous can lead to injuries, particularly falls,” it added.
Aside from health, the report found that among households in England containing someone aged 60 years or over, fewer than half in the private rental sector have savings or investments compared with over three-quarters of those who own their homes outright.
After paying housing costs, older people in rented accommodation have lower incomes than homeowners and are more likely to be in fuel poverty.
The ONS warned that future generations of older people are more likely to live in rented accommodation than today.
In 2017, almost three-quarters of people aged 65 years and over in England owned their home outright, with just 6% renting from a private landlord.
However, people in their 30s and 40s are now less likely to be homeowners than in the past, and much more likely to be renting.
“If these trends continue, we would expect to see far more older people renting from private landlords in the future,” the ONS said.