It’s no secret that the cost of renting in the UK is on the rise, with many people now spending more than half of their income on rent each month. While there are some things you can’t control, such as increasing rents and utility bills, there are a number of ways to avoid costly mistakes as a renter – mistakes that could easily add up to hundreds or even thousands of pounds over the course of a year.
In this guide, we will outline some key things to check for when renting a property, so you can be sure you’re getting good value for your money.
1. Make sure the heating system is up-to-date.
Many landlords will try to cut costs by not replacing old boilers or installing traditional column radiators in place of modern radiator systems. While these may look aesthetically pleasing, they are far less efficient and can end up costing you more in energy bills over time. Check that the boiler is working properly and ask your landlord if they can provide any details on how much money it would cost to upgrade the heating system if needed.
2. Ask about utility bills upfront.
Most rental properties come with a fixed rate for electricity, gas, water and other utilities – however, this rate may change each year depending on usage or changes in tariffs from suppliers. To avoid unpleasant surprises when your bill arrives, ask your landlord what the expected monthly costs are and whether they have any information on how much these may increase over time.
3. Be aware of hidden fees.
While most rental agreements clearly state the cost of rent and any associated deposits or fees, there can often be additional charges in the small print that you might not be aware of. This could include things such as check-in fees, cleaning fees or pet damage deposits – so make sure to read through your contract carefully and ask questions if anything seems unclear.
6. Make sure you understand the terms of your tenancy.
It’s important to make sure you are aware of any changes or restrictions in your contract – such as limits on how many people can stay in the property, when rent is due, and whether pets are allowed. Knowing these details upfront will help ensure that you remain compliant with the terms of your agreement and avoid any potential conflict with your landlord.
7. Check the state of repair before signing your contract.
It’s important to check that all appliances, fixtures and fittings are in good working order before you sign any agreement – as this could save you money down the line if anything needs to be repaired or replaced. Once you move in, it’s also a good idea to take photos of any existing damage so that you have proof should your landlord try and charge you for them at the end of your tenancy.
8. Consider using a tenant’s insurance policy.
Tenant’s insurance can provide vital protection for both you and your landlord in the event of an accident or natural disaster, such as a fire or flooding. Not only does this reduce the likelihood of costly repairs being required after your tenancy has ended, but it also ensures that any possessions you have in the property are covered should anything happen to them during your stay.
9. Know your rights as a tenant.
Despite popular belief, tenants do have certain rights when it comes to renting in the UK – such as being able to ask for repairs if needed or having a right to quiet enjoyment of the property. Knowing what you’re entitled to can help ensure that you don’t face any unexpected costs during your tenancy and will also allow you to take action should any issues arise with your landlord.
By following these simple steps, you can save yourself from making costly mistakes when renting a property and make sure that you get good value for your money. Remember, always take the time to read through your contract carefully before signing anything and don’t be afraid to ask questions if there’s anything you don’t understand. Good luck!