5 things I wish I knew when I started renting

The number of private renters in the UK has more than doubled since 2001 and it’s only expected to climb higher over the coming years[1]. We’re living in generation rent, with 59% of renters telling us back in March that they don’t believe they’ll ever own their own home[2].

If you’re one of the many looking to rent or you know someone who does, here are a few bits of knowledge that could come in useful.

1.Your credit history matters

Despite the fact that half of the renters Noddle spoke to have never attempted to check their credit report, it’s actually a pretty important part of renting. When you ask to rent a property, a credit check is run against you to make sure you’re capable of making your rental payments. What they want to see is a history of you paying back debt, so to make sure you’re in with the best possible chance of being able to rent, check your credit score beforehand. Make sure all the details are correct and you’re aware of any debt or late payments that are affecting your score. If you’re planning on renting in the future, start working to improve your score now to help increase your chances of getting the property you want.

2.You need to take photos of everything

When the time comes for you to leave your property, getting your deposit back will depend on you being able to prove that you left it in the same condition as you found it (give or take natural ageing/wear and tear).

Consequently, when you move into rented accommodation spend time taking time/date stamped photos of everything and documenting any faults, such as marks on the wall. You can then take these to your landlord or letting agent as proof of the condition of your property and maybe even agree a schedule for getting some of them fixed.

3.Renting can be expensive

From raising often sizeable deposits and covering agent fees, to having to fork out for a car parking space on top of your rent, the costs of renting can sometimes be high. If you’ve not planned for this, it can come as even more of a shock. Before you start renting, be realistic about how much moving in will cost you and what your monthly expenditure is likely to be once you’re living in your new home. This will help you make achievable financial plans to afford to rent.

4.You might be grateful for taking out that insurance policy

Lots of people don’t think about insurance until they buy a property or start a family. However, it’s just as important to have a safety net when you’re renting. Contents insurance could be key if your home gets burgled or if there’s an accident. Life insurance and critical illness cover are also important to ensure you can still pay your rent if the worst happens. Life insurance means that if you die during your tenancy, your next of kin won’t be left paying your rent until a new tenant is found. Similarly, critical illness cover insures that if you’re off work for a long-period of time due to certain illnesses, you’ll be able to draw on money to pay your rent. However, be sure to check which illnesses are covered.

5.You need to be a pro at managing different parties

When you rent a property, there are lots of different people you have to deal with. Your landlord/letting agent, property manager, utilities companies, handy men – it can sometimes feel like plate spinning. What you soon learn is that you’ve got to get good at knowing who deals with what and who to speak to if you want to get things sorted quickly.

If you’re part of generation rent and want to improve your financial health, check out our report.

[1] PWC – UK Economic Outlook July, 2015

[2] Research was undertaken on behalf of Noddle by Atomik Research of 1,002 UK adults which were a representative sample of the UK population between 26th February and 4th March 2016.