A fifth of households in the UK are privately rented, and the costs can be staggering – with the average rent now £927/month and an eye-watering £1,593/month in London. That’s why we’ve put together this list of tips to help you get the most out of renting…
Save 60% On Rent – Be A Property Guardian
Fancy living in a church, school or fire station? In return for babysitting empty premises to deter squatters, property guardian companies charge their ‘guardians’ as little as a third of local rents.
Prices vary hugely but it typically works out at £230 a month, or £400 a month in London. This is a bargain, considering the average private monthly rent in the UK stands at £927 a month or £1,593 in London, according to tenant referencing company HomeLet.
Buildings include everything from monasteries to mansions, so you could end up living it up in a sprawling country pile for less than a flat.
Since the law changed in 2012 to make squatting in residential, but not commercial, properties illegal, building managers have seen a rise in squatters in commercial properties and are increasingly turning to guardianship to combat this. This may lead to more opportunities to take up property guardianship in the future.
Check Your Deposit’s Protected
The Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) scheme is not something that is widely known among renters. In fact, more than a third of private renters in England and Wales either don’t know about the scheme or don’t know if their deposit is protected, according to housing charity Shelter.
Under the law in England & Wales, if you have the most common type of tenancy – an ‘assured shorthold tenancy’, that started on or after April 6th 2007, then your landlord must put your deposit into one these schemes within 30 days of getting it. Failing to protect your deposit means you can take your landlord to small claims court to get back up to four times the deposit amount.
If your deposit is in one of these schemes, it means:
- You’ll get the full deposit back at the end of the tenancy provided you’ve met the terms of the tenancy agreement
- If you agree with your landlord how much of the deposit you’re due, it’ll be returned to you within 10 days of the tenancy ending
- If you DON’T agree with your landlord, a free dispute resolution service will investigate and decide how much of the deposit you should get back
Take A Meter Reading When You Arrive
It’s easy to forget this when you’ve a tonne of unpacking to do, but do meter readings for your gas and electricity when you move in. This way, you can pass them on to the suppliers to ensure you aren’t charged for energy that the previous occupants used.
It’s also worth noting you should do a meter reading every time you get a bill. Don’t rely on your energy provider’s estimate; these are often way out. If they’re underbilling, you’ll have a big whack to pay at the end of the year. If they’re overbilling, then they’ve unfairly got your cash.
Register To Vote
It’s important to remember that when you move, you don’t automatically get registered to vote at your new address. Even if you don’t care about having a say in who represents you, not being on the electoral roll could mean you won’t be accepted for any credit!
This is because credit reference agencies use the register to confirm where you live in order to counteract fraud.
Paying Rent Can Boost Your Credit Score
If you know you will always be paying your rent on time, you could use a third party like Credit Ladder to boost your credit score. The way it works is Credit Ladder passes on your payment to your landlord or lettings agency, and tells credit reference agency Experian whether you’ve made the payment on time. Experian then updates your credit file accordingly.
If you know you’ll be able to pay on time and you’re trying to improve your credit rating or build up a credit history, this can be a clever way to make your rental payments count towards that. Of course, if there’s a risk you’re going to miss payments it could harm your rating.