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Love blossoms in Girlings retirement property

When Mrs Sybil Smith, as she was then, decided to downsize from her home in Cambridge, she did not expect to find her second love in a retirement development.

Having lost her husband in 2000, Sybil (then 72) wanted to move from their large family home to a more secure and manageable retirement property. Whilst searching for a property to buy, Sybil saw a “to sell / rent” sign outside Havenfield Place on Arbury Road in Cambridge and viewed the development with her daughter. She had not previously considered the option of renting in retirement, but after seeing Girlings’ apartments for rent and learning about their Assured Tenancy rental contracts (giving her the right to remain in the property for life if she chooses), she soon realised the benefits of renting instead of buying.

After selling her home and investing the capital, Sybil moved into a one-bedroom flat in Havenfield in the summer of 2001. She settled well into the development, meeting new friends and enjoying the freedom from the burden of owning a property. By November of that year, Sybil had met Leonard Clarke (70), a retired accountant who lived across the hall. The pair developed a strong relationship and when Sybil fell ill in 2002, and Leonard looked after her.

The couple were married on 19 June 2004 at Shire Hall, with the reception at Sybil’s son’s home. Leonard moved into Sybil’s flat in Havenfield and they have been living there very happily ever since.

Mrs Sybil Clarke comments, “Renting through Girlings has changed my life. I have met my second love, and we are living with the security that we want, without the worry of owning a property at this age. The decision to release capital from our previous homes and rent has given us greater financial freedom as well. We are able to enjoy our retirement, learning new skills such as how to use a computer, and spending valuable time with our family, including our 11 grandchildren!”

Havenfield Place on Arbury Road is a purpose-built retirement development situated north of Cambridge’s historic city centre. It comprises 67 self-contained apartments set over three floors and is positioned in a residential area very close to local amenities, including shops, a post office and transport links.

A House Manager is on-site and facilities include a residents’ lounge, communal laundry, guest suite, maintenance of the garden, heating, lighting and upkeep of communal areas, as well as maintenance and insurance of the building, a secure entry-system and a 24 hour emergency care line. Rental prices are inclusive of the service charges and ground rent.

Peter Girling, Chairman and founder of Girlings states, “All our apartments are purpose built so tenants can enjoy an easy and convenient way of living. Renting on an assured tenancy where the monthly rental rate includes maintenance and ground rent costs makes financial planning easier for our tenants and provides them with the peace of mind that they have a home for life. Additionally, any rental increases are in line with the Retail Price Index, and capped at 6%, enabling our tenants to plan their finances.”

For further information / to arrange an interview with Mr & Mrs Clarke / Peter Girling, please contact Heather Baker, hbl media,; 0207 612 1830

About Girlings

Girlings Retirement Options Limited is the market leader in private rental retirement property offering rentals on an assured tenancy basis (tenancy for life). The properties are purpose-built to suit the needs of the independently minded and active 55+ age group. They are available to rent at affordable market rates which are reviewed every twelve months in line with RPI and capped at 6%, enabling easy financial planning for tenants. Maintenance costs are included in the rental rates; there are communal facilities at the majority of developments and a house manager is available for help and advice. Reassurance and peace of mind are also covered through the 24 hour emergency Careline.

The company has in the region of 1800 retirement properties available to rent in the UK and Spain and Girlings has seen year-on-year growth in demand for new properties from people who are finding this to be an affordable and convenient way of living in retirement, enabling them to pursue long held dreams such as long holidays, gifting money to their children or pursuing new hobbies and pastimes.