Good advice for anyone considering renting a home

Young people don’t expect to own their own home until they’re in their forties, according to a recent survey.* It is no surprise that attitudes are changing, with people happy to rent as they realise they’re priced out of the housing market. When asked about their plans, 38% said that owning a home “wasn’t critical” to them.

If you are one of the millions who aren’t desperate to get on the property ladder, renting can give you great flexibility and the chance to live in an area that you might never be able to afford if you were trying to buy a home. Once you’ve found your dream flat or house to rent, there are a number of things you’ll need to remember before moving in day:

  • Although you won’t need buildings insurance, it’s essential that you have a good contents insurance policy in place. It’s up to the landlord to insure the building, but don’t get caught short when it comes to your own possessions. Some contents insurance policies offer unlimited cover, but others will require you to list the value of your belongings so make sure everything is included.

  • Find out who the gas and electricity supplier is as soon as you move in and give them an up-to-date meter reading on the first day. That way, you won’t end up paying for gas and electricity used by anyone who lived there before you. Ask your supplier for a rough idea of how much the bills will be, and if you’re on a tight budget or don’t fancy any nasty surprises set up a direct debit so that you know exactly how much you’ll be paying each month.

  • Check with your water supplier to find out if you’ll be paying a straightforward bill or whether the property is on a meter.

  • Ask the landlord or agent how recently the locks have been changed. It’s safest if they’re changed when you move in so you know you’re the only one with a key.

  • Rented flats and houses may be unfurnished, furnished or part furnished. Agree to go through an inventory with your landlord or agent so you’re all clear on exactly what’s in the house – from a TV to cutlery. This might sound like a tedious job, but if you have it written down it will save any misunderstandings when you come to move out and get your deposit back. If anything isn’t in pristine condition, note that down too, so you won’t be saddled with a bill for damage at the end of your tenancy.

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