Money saving tips on…renting

A general rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t spend more than roughly thirty percent of your income on rent, but that rule doesn’t factor in all of your expenses, and usually, neither do affordability calculators – CheatSheet.com – Oct 2015

Save money renting

No matter how much you earn, spending roughly 30% on rent is a large proportion of expenditure every month, so if there are savings to be made, it can make a difference. If you want to save money on rent and be savvy with your landlord then here’s some quick tips to consider and share.

Before you move in

Think about what’s affordable and check if you qualify for Council Tax exemptions and discounts

Depending on your circumstances you may be entitled to a discount on your council tax. You’re entitled to a single person discount if you’re living alone and there are provisions for people claiming certain benefits as well. One of the best places to research this is here.

Use the Zoopla app to see if you’re getting value for money

If you want to check out the local area and see what the prices are like then use the Zoopla app. You can also find details regarding what kind of people live there from reading habits, occupations and more.

Check if the local area has a high crime rate

Check out the crime statistics of an area you may be thinking about by using the police.uk website. All you need is the postcode to start a search. The higher the crime rate the more your car, home contents and other insurance could potentially cost. To find out what the change in your insurance costs could be, ask your current provider(s) to give you a quote.

Haggle your way in to saving money

Unless you want to rent in an area where there is more demand for rental property than there is housing supply, it’s worth negotiating to try and get cheaper rent. After all the worst any prospective landlord can do is say no. For each month the property is empty the landlord will still need to cover the mortgage so it’s in their interests to have an occupied property.

Try Freecylcle, Gumtree and Craigslist for home furnishings

If you’re moving in to a flat that isn’t furnished it can be costly getting new furniture. A great place to look is one of the freecycling, auction or exchange websites to get the best deals. Whilst it may be attractive to get a new sofa on finance, think carefully about affordability, suitability and what may happen if your circumstances change.

And as you move in, consider a few things …

Take photos in just in case you need proof later

Avoid disputes and losing your deposit by logging the condition of the property and its contents when you move in. If you need to report existing stains, dents, repairs or breakages that haven’t already been listed or recognised then do so before or as you move in. Don’t leave it until weeks or months afterwards. This should help you prove that damage or issues were present before you moved, for which you shouldn’t be held liable.

Check the meters and contact suppliers

Again take photos and a note of all the meter readings just so you can ensure you’re paying the right amount. This should also help you avoid paying the usage of previous tenants or any workmen who may have been in before you.

Switch to energy saving light bulbs

Even if it costs you to change the existing light bulbs, switching to energy saving options will make a difference especially if you’re there for six months or more.

Towards the end of your tenancy …

Consider this scenario. Once you’re in your rented pad, paying bills on time, the landlord may feel a sense of relief that the income and mortgage is being covered. If you can offer more income by way of a longer tenancy then you’re in a position to negotiate. Even a £15 a month reduction will save £75 in six months. It’s always worth checking the local rates in your area to see if you’re paying more or less than the going rate. Why not ask? The worst your landlord, or landlady can do is say no.