So, you’re finally taking that leap and packing up your bedroom at your long-suffering parents’ house? It’s time to take your first tentative steps out into the big bad real world and move into your first rented property.
Moving out on your own can be an equally exciting and daunting process. It is likely to be the first time you’ve ever had to pay your own bills, shop for your own food and keep an entire property clean and in a habitable condition.
You are going to need to juggle several different bills which means budgeting your hard-earned money, you will have far less spare cash floating around than you are used to (trust me this takes some adjusting to), and you are possibly going to need to source furniture and other household items.
With so many bits and pieces to consider, it is easy to overlook some of the less obvious factors that you need to take into account. Thankfully we are here to help with our top tips for first time renters…
Your landlord is responsible for insuring the property itself, but a condition of your tenancy agreement will more than likely be that you get contents cover. This is simple enough if you are living alone or with your family as you just need to hit the comparison sites and find the best deal.
However, it can be a bit trickier if you are living in a shared house as many policies won’t cover them. So, double check any policies that you are offered and always let them know that it’s a shared house or you could end up with your insurance being invalidated.
Is your deposit protected?
Since 2007 it has been law that your landlord must put your deposit into a protected deposit scheme. If they do not, they can be fined and be liable to pay you up to three times the deposit amount.
Check if your deposit is protected. It also helps to protect your rights when it comes to trying to reclaim the deposit at the end of your tenancy.
Getting your deposit back
Make sure that you check your contract for the exact conditions of your deposit being returned to you. It may request a deep clean of the property, it may say that carpets must be cleaned professionally, or that any picture hooks must be removed and filled in. Knowing what will be expected of you (and what won’t be) will help you to prepare for the future better.
Make sure that you repair any damage that you have caused to the property and ensure that nothing is missing or broken. Once everything is moved out, you can go in and give the place a thorough clean to ensure that you leave it spick and span.
Lastly, make sure that you take time stamped pictures of all areas, in case you need to prove what condition you left the house in. If you feel that your deposit is being withheld unfairly then it is worth fighting for, and the more evidence you have to back yourself up, the better.
Shop around for utilities
You could save hundreds of pounds on your gas and/or electricity by shopping around. It’s amazing how many people just stay with the same supplier that the previous tenant had, but it’s completely unnecessary.
Switching supplier is really easy and you might be surprised at how much you can save. Most of the comparison websites allow you to switch right through the site, with just a few button clicks, so there’s no excuse not to get the best deal.
Don’t feel like you have to go out buying all brand new furnishings either. You may have a picture in your head of your new and super stylish pad, but it’s best to manage your expectations. Websites such as Freecycle have loads of free stuff that you can acquire for your house.
Don’t forget that once your house is all kitted out, you can slowly start replacing things with something more in keeping with your own style, as you can afford them.
Boosting your credit score
It’s possible to boost your credit score by reporting your rent paid, so ensure to pay on time if you one day plan on buying a home or want to lease a car. It’s important to know though that paying your rent on time each month doesn’t automatically boost your score and some companies may not even consider it, so remember to build credit in other ways too.
Take pictures when you move in
Make sure that you take pictures of the house when you move in. Pay special attention to any areas of concern and check them against the contents inventory. This will help you avoid any issues at the end of the tenancy, if you get accused of causing damage that was already present when you got there.
There are some of our top tips for when renting your first home… Please let us know if you are planning to make the leap this year and also if we’ve missed off anything important!