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How to save money while renting despite surge in costs hammering tenan | Personal Finance | Finance

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Rents increased an average of nine percent in the past year, and that’s not including rising energy bills and the cost of living crisis. The renters on the MoneyMagpie team have put their heads together to make sure you can live a richer life (and find spare cash to save for your own house deposit!) with these renter hacks to save money.

Negotiate Fixes for Discounts

If you’re a bit handy with a spanner or have green fingers in the garden, you could negotiate a small discount on your rent in return for some maintenance. This is not about work that requires a professional, like an electrician or plumber (unless you’re qualified!), but those annoying things around the house that the landlord is responsible for fixing.

Your contract will include a responsibility to maintain the property to a good standard, and that includes a garden. So, you can’t negotiate this for things like an overgrown garden, unless these repairs exist before you move in.

Some tenants have had success with offering to repaint their new home in return for a month of free rent, for example – which saves the landlord from finding and paying a contractor. It’s always worth asking to see if you could save!

Know Your Deposit Rights

Tenants on an Assured Shorthold contract, which is usually when you have exclusive use of a property or you’re sharing with friends, have rights over their deposit.

Your landlord must pay your deposit into a Deposit Protection Scheme within 30 days of receiving it. If you haven’t had notice after that time, don’t follow it up just yet. When you move out – or if you’re served a Section 21 eviction notice – you will be able to claim the cost of your deposit and often compensation up to three times the deposit amount.

If your landlord did use a deposit scheme, and is refusing to return some or all of your deposit, dispute it. Many will estimate higher costs for work to fix damages, for example – so get quotes of your own to evidence your counter claim.

When you move into a new property, take photos and video of the empty flat and any furniture and furnishings before you move your stuff in. Use this as evidence of existing damage or wear and tear, so that it cannot be used against you on a deposit dispute when moving out.

Avoid All Inclusive Agreements

If your tenancy agreement includes all bills, stop to do the maths. This is usually a way to charge higher rents, and also does not give you the opportunity to shop around for better tariffs (which a landlord cannot stop you from doing).

It can also cause problems if, for example, it says bills are included but your landlord does not pay the Council Tax. As you are the resident in the property, you’re liable for the Council Tax and any charges. Save yourself a lot of cash by only taking on tenancies with separate bills.

The exception here can be if you’re a short-term lodger, as it is easier and usually cheaper to include all bills.

Ask to Sub-Let a Spare Room

Consider your current situation and whether it would help to give up some of your space for another tenant. If you rented a three-bed house with a friend and have the third room as a home office, perhaps you could sub-let this room instead.

This reorganising of living space is particularly useful if you found somewhere to rent mid- or post-pandemic but now spend time back at the office again, and find you’re not using your spare room anymore.

Renting out would help reduce your rental cost and, while your bills increase overall they’re being split an extra way so can help bring the cost of living down, too.

You may need to get permission from your landlord to sub-let, so make sure you check your tenancy agreement first. It doesn’t have to be a permanent thing, either – perhaps you have a friend who needs somewhere to stay for a few months in-between travelling or university.

If subletting is out of the question, consider letting the spare room out for storage to friends. It is much cheaper to do this than rent a storage unit, and your friends know their stuff is with someone they can trust – so it’s a win-win situation. Make sure your contents insurance covers the value of their stored items, and draw up a receipt and agreement to keep everything civil.

Furnish on a Budget

We love thrifting! Use apps like NextDoor, Freecycle, and local Facebook groups to look for cheap or free furniture. You could also find charity furniture warehouses in your area too – which is ideal for larger items, as they will often deliver for a small fee. Ask around friends and family, as well. You’ll be surprised at what people are willing to give away.

While it may mean your home is furnished with hotchpotch styling, you could use this as an opportunity to get creative and upcycle your vintage furniture. Or, lean into it and make your décor inspiration ‘kitsch’.

The only thing worth spending more money on in a furnished flat is a new mattress. It’ll improve your life no end as your sleep will be restorative instead of interrupted by lumpy springs in the provided mattress. Just make sure you ask your landlord to remove the old mattress or agree with them that your new one does not make up part of the furnishings when you leave!

Opt for Family Subscriptions

Sharing a house with others means you have a prime opportunity to cut down on your annual subscription costs. If you trust the people you’re living with, consider splitting the costs.

One person might pay for the Family Spotify subscription, perhaps, while another takes on the Amazon Prime subscription. Doing this can cut costs for everyone without losing out on the services you need in your home. Think about it – if you currently have Spotify, Prime, Netflix, Apple TV, Readly, and a Tesco monthly delivery bundle, that’s over £60 a month.

Split even with one housemate, you’re each saving £30 a month, or £360 a year. Make sure that whenever a subscription is due to renew, you look out for deals and discounts on the renewal price, too. This can slash your costs even further.

Use a Credit Builder Rent Payment App

Alright, this one isn’t about saving money right now – but it could definitely help improve your credit score for your future mortgage. Your rent is your biggest monthly outgoing expense, and until recently it wasn’t possible to make that count towards showing renters are responsible with their cash.

Apps like CreditLadder allow you to pay your rent via them, which then reports the monthly payment to credit reference agencies. This means you build a history as a reliable individual – and that means you could be more likely to get a mortgage than if you don’t use this kind of service.

Shop for Deals and Discounts

A moneysaving tactic for renters and homeowners alike is to not be brand loyal. Shop around, look for discounts and deals, and always price compare online for big purchases before you buy.

Sign up to moneysaving newsletters like MoneyMagpie to get regular deals to your inbox – it’s a great way to find grocery, holiday, home and entertainment deals to save money every week.

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