12 Surefire Ways To Save Money Whilst Renting

{AF template=round_quotes} If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. James Goldsmith. {/AF}

1. Estate agent fees.

Find out what the going rate is for fees.  If you know anyone who is an estate agent it is advisable to find out student housingfrom him or her.  It is even better if they can be with you throughout the negotiations to ensure you aren’t overcharged.  Ask whether there is a flat fee or a fee per person.

You should also check whether there is a contract renewal fee.  Try your university housing association to find out which estate agents are recommended for students.  Going directly through the landlord can sometimes be simpler and cheaper.

2. A month is not exactly four weeks.


When a flat is advertised it usually gives you the weekly rental costs.  If you’re renting for £50 a week (for a 12 month contract = 52 weeks) it works out at £216.66 per month and not £200 as you might expect.

Also take into account that even though your university year only lasts 9 months many contracts last either 6 or 12 months.  You will have to pay the extra 3 months whether you’re living there or not.

3. Salesmen will come into your house to try to change your provider.


This happens to some students.  These salesmen have been trained to be persistent and therefore may be difficult to get rid of.  Firmly reject the offer and close the door.  If you want to change providers it shouldn’t be done on your doorstep by a random salesmen but after having discussed it with your flatmates and having conducted your own research. Salesmen will also try to convince you over the phone so be on your guard!

4. Pay your bills.


This may sound simple but without proper budgeting you may find it difficult to stretch your student loan.  Ensure you don’t get into a situation where you can’t pay bills, as the consequences are serious.  You may be evicted as well as have your electricity and gas supply cut off. Make sure you record the readings of the gas and electricity meters to prevent being overcharged.  With this in mind, make sure you pay your bills on time otherwise the named person will take a negative hit on their credit rating. Even if it’s not your name it is your friend’s so be a good, reliable friend and pay your share on time.

5. You won’t always be able to pay individual standing orders to the landlord.


This means that one person has to take responsibility for a house account.  The person who agrees to this must be aware that you have to push your friends for rent and bills (if they are being paid from the same account).  If they are unreliable then ensure that you firmly inform them that it is your credit rating at stake.  You shouldn’t allow people to be late but if they are forgetful make sure you give them a reminder early enough for them to act.

6. Find out your rights as a tenant and what your landlord’s rights are.


Do the research before you put a deposit down.

7. Take photos of everything and date them.


Even better would be to send photos to the estate agent or landlord showing the condition of everything just after you have moved in.

8. Be fully aware of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.


The deposit you put down can be anywhere between six and eight weeks rent which means a large sum of money.  From 6 April 2007, all deposits (for rent up to £25,000 per annum) taken by landlords and letting agents for Assured Shorthold Tenancies in England and Wales, must be protected by a tenancy deposit protection scheme.

9. Make all tenants go to the flat together.


Even though it’s the summer and you may all be back home it’s really important that you all know what you’re signing up for.  Once the contract has been signed it can be very difficult to pull out.

10. Never cover your friends/other tenant.


Money can be awkward to discuss but make sure you’re each aware of your obligations.  It may seem kind to help a friend out but it can lead to problems where money is concerned.  Only cover your own deposit because your friend could pull out causing difficulties in getting the money back and a possible end to the friendship.

11. Be aware of council tax laws for students.


If all the tenants are students then you do not need to pay council tax but you must declare this to your local authority.  Each tenant will need a certificate of attendance from his or her university as proof.  If one tenant is no longer a student then the flat will get a 25 percent discount on the council tax bill.

12. Written agreement of repairs.


The flat may need some repairs (e.g. broken locks or appliances) so request a written agreement from the landlord or estate agent to ensure that everything is fixed before you move in.

The key to finding a house or flat is organization.  Make sure you make enough time to do the research to ensure that you all reach an informed decision.  You can never be completely prepared for flat or house hunting so ensure you utilise these tips to help you get started.

{AF template=round_quotes} Money often costs too much. Ralph Waldo Emerson. {/AF}

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