As a seasoned renter, I moved no less than ten times to various properties, including shared houses, flats, and bedsits. With this wealth of experience, I've gained insight into the costs involved in renting a property. In this blog post, I will provide you with 8 things to budget for when renting a property for the first time as a tenant.
8 Things to save for when renting your first home
I’d like to think of myself as a pretty seasoned home renter. I moved out of home at the age of 17 into a shared house and then moved no less than ten times to various properties whilst renting! I lived in a mix of shared houses, a bedsit, a flat with a boyfriend or a flat with a friend. The shortest I stayed in one of these properties was three months and the longest was three years. I’ve been through the process of viewing rental properties such as looking into rental properties like Maitland apartments, filling out forms and references, paying all the fees and moving so many times!
Moving out and living alone for the first time is exciting, but there is a financial burden. I want to give you some insight into the costs to consider when renting a property. Perhaps you’re thinking of moving out of home for the first time and need to know the costs involved. Here are six things to budget for when looking to rent a property for the first time as a tenant.
This is usually the largest upfront expense when renting a property. I usually had to pay between a 1 month and 1.5 month’s worth of rent as a deposit. This is usually paid on the day you move in. Providing you leave the house clean and tidy without damage to anything then it will be returned at the end of your tenancy. Be warned though, it can take a while for the deposit to be returned so you can’t always rely on this as your deposit for your next rental property and may have to save a deposit again when you decide to move on.
2. Holding deposit
Some agencies ask for a holding deposit which is payable as soon as you decide you want the property. It ensures they take it off the market and don’t let anyone view it whilst they are checking your references and paperwork is sorted. Only pay this if you are absolutely certain you want the property as it may not be returned if you simply change your mind. If you do have to pay a holding deposit then it should be deducted from your first month’s rent and deposit bill.
3. Agency and referencing fees
Agency fees and referencing fees are fees payable to the letting agent, unless you rent privately, that won’t be returned. These are to cover their admin costs and any costs involved in getting references from your bank and place of employment, for example. These fees vary and are not set, so check with the letting agent for their fees before agreeing to a property to make sure you are happy with them.
4. First month’s rent
Rent is paid upfront for the month ahead, so you’ll need to pay your first month’s rent on the day you move in. Then you’ll need to pay this every month from then on. Some letting agents always take this payment on the first of the month, but others will take it monthly on the date that you moved in. If rent is due on the first and you move in half way through the month then you may only have to pay half the month’s rent upfront and the first full month’s payment on the first of the following month.
5. End of tenancy clean
When you move out of the property at the end of your tenancy then you’ll want to have saved some money to cover the costs of any end of tenancy cleaning. Some landlords and letting agencies let you clean the property yourself so long as it’s left in good condition, but some will require a professional clean or at least the carpets professionally cleaned at the end of your tenancy. They'll want to see proof, such as a receipt or invoice for the work complete. Make sure you ask what is required before choosing to rent a property to ensure you are happy with any costs involved. If a professional clean of any sort is required then this will be a part of your contract and if you do not comply then they will deduct the cost of a professional clean from your deposit. It’s always best to read your contract thoroughly before signing so you are aware of your obligations as a tenant and not surprised by anything at the end of your tenancy.
Sometimes you will be able to rent a furnished property which can be great news if you are moving out of home for the first time and don’t have any of your own furniture, or if you want to save on the cost of furnishing an entire property yourself. If a place is furnished then you’ll need to look after the furniture as if it were your own as any damages will have to come out of your deposit at the end of your tenancy or be paid for by you. If the property is unfurnished then you’ll need to consider the cost of everything you need to buy. You will at least need a bed and mattress, sofa and perhaps table and chairs to start. Bargains can be found at second hand shops if you can’t afford new or want to recycle furniture and sometimes you can find free items on local marketplaces. It’s likely you’ll need to buy some things yourself though, so factor this into your costs when saving to move out of home as you may need to furnish an entire house on a budget. If they don't supply appliances like white goods, then you may find it cheaper to rent white goods as they are usually upgraded or replaced if they break and come with a maintenance service.
Sometimes rental properties list the rental price with ‘bills included’. I had this at two of my properties and it made things so much easier. I simply paid my month’s rent to the landlord each month and they covered all the utility bills and council tax. Job done! I think it’s fairly rare to find such a deal though and rental payments are usually just rent only with bills to be sorted by yourself. You’ll need to factor in the cost of energy bills (electricity and/or gas, either direct debits or PAYG meters or even wood fuel), council tax and water rates. These have to be paid each month and are usually based on how much you use each month. Then you’ll probably want a TV licence if you plan on watching live TV or using BBC iPlayer and of course an internet connection, so you may want to search around for the cheapest broadband deals. You might want to consider contents insurance to cover your contents in case of theft or damage. It’s a good idea to work out all these costs before you decide to rent a property to see if they are affordable and to make sure you budget for them every month.
8. Moving costs
Don't forget about the cost of removals. You might have a friend or two with cars and vans who can move you and your belongings to the property. If not, then you may need to hire a van to move your belongings on moving in day. Costs can vary greatly depending on whether you can hire a van that you drive yourself to if you need to hire a van with a driver.
Things to consider that could cut costs when renting
Here are some additional things to consider when renting that could help you cut costs and save money. By being aware of these factors, you can make informed decisions and avoid financial surprises down the road.
Council Tax Exemptions
In the UK, full-time students and those living alone or with other students may be eligible for council tax exemption. This means you don't have to pay council tax, which can save you hundreds of pounds each year. Make sure to check your eligibility and apply for exemption if you're eligible. It may be that you can get a single person discount on your council tax if you live by yourself. Don't waste money and find out!
In the UK, you need a TV Licence to watch or record live TV, and to watch or download programmes on BBC iPlayer. The cost of a TV Licence is currently £159 per year, but if you're only watching catch-up TV on services like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, you don't need a TV Licence. Make sure to factor in the cost of a TV Licence if you plan on watching live TV or using BBC iPlayer.
Make sure to read your tenancy agreement carefully before signing it. The tenancy agreement sets out your rights and obligations as a tenant, as well as the landlord's obligations. It's important to know what you're agreeing to and what you can expect from your landlord.
When you move into a rental property, make sure to do an inventory check-in with the landlord or letting agent. This is a detailed list of everything in the property, including the condition of the walls, floors, furniture, and appliances. Make sure to check everything thoroughly and take photos or videos to document the condition of the property. This can help you avoid disputes with the landlord over damages when you move out.
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
All rental properties in the UK must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), which rates the energy efficiency of the property on a scale from A to G. Make sure to ask the landlord or letting agent for a copy of the EPC before you sign the tenancy agreement. A higher rating can mean lower energy bills, so it's worth checking.
Your landlord may increase the rent during your tenancy, but they can't do so without giving you proper notice. The notice period depends on the terms of your tenancy agreement, but it's usually at least one month. Make sure to read your tenancy agreement to know your rights and the notice period for rent increases.
Do you have pets?
Most landlords and letting agents won't allow pets. If you're moving out for the first time then this might be a good thing as the cost of pets is expensive and they may cause damage to the rental property which will cost you money to fix. If you're already a pet owner then you'll need to find a rental that allows whatever types of pets you have.
There are lots of costs to consider when moving out of home for the first time into a rented property. Work out how much you can afford for rent and bills each month and search for a property that suits your budget. If money is tight then you may wish to consider a furnished property that includes bills to make things easier to budget and to have less upfront costs. Simply register with letting agents and let them know your requirements and they’ll contact you whenever they have a suitable property.
Moving out of home for the first time can be an exciting but daunting experience, especially when it comes to the costs involved in renting a property. From deposits and agency fees to monthly rent and bills, there are many expenses to consider. However, with proper planning and budgeting, it's possible to find a suitable property that fits within your financial means. By keeping the eight things mentioned in this blog post in mind, you can make informed decisions and avoid financial surprises down the road.