The five stages of renting

The five stages of renting

Over the last few years, we've all become familiar with the term 'generation rent'.

And it doesn't look like this trend will change any time soon, with 94% of landlords saying demand is stable or increasing, according to Paragon Mortgages' Private Rented Sector Trends report.

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For many, particularly students and younger people, renting is the only realistic option, but it involves a lot more than just finding somewhere to move and signing a tenancy agreement.

Here we look at the five stages of renting, so you can be prepared for all eventualities.

How much rent can you really afford?

The first step is working out how much you can really afford. You might have an idea about what you could pay in rent, but have you thought about the total cost?

You need to factor in things like Council Tax, utility bills, TV licence and contents insurance.

Your possessions might be covered under your parents' policy, but it's worth checking.

Saving up for a deposit

Most landlords will ask for a deposit when you move in. Typically, this is a month's rent, but can be six weeks.

You will also need your first month's rent in advance, so this is a significant amount of money you will need to save up.

Moving in

You saved up the money, you've found somewhere to move in, now all that's left is to sign the paperwork. But hold on a second.

The tenancy agreement is a legal document, so it's vital you read it carefully.

Along with outlining your responsibilities, it might also tell you if the landlord is responsible for certain bills.

Splitting the bills

Maybe you can't afford to rent by yourself. If you have a house or flat mate it's really important to figure out how all the costs and bills will be split.

Under joint responsibility, all people who sign the tenancy agreement are responsible for covering the bills. This means if one of your housemates decides to leave without paying the rent and their share of the latest bills, you (and the remaining occupants) will have to cover the extra cost.

Getting everybody's financial responsibilities straight from the beginning will make life easier if something does happen.

Moving out

The day will come when you will have to move out and you'll want to get as much of your deposit back as possible. And this is where your preparation earlier on pays off.

When you first move in it's a good idea to point out any existing damage to your landlord and take photos as proof for later on.

Thoroughly reading your tenancy agreement will also let you know what you need to do when moving out. For example, hiring a professional cleaner.

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.

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In Scotland, Edinburgh is seen as a city with huge growth potential. In 2014, prices in Edinburgh were up 10% in a post referendum boom that shows little sign of slowing down.

Local agents are not expecting quite such stellar growth for the next 12 months, but they think price rises will be well above the average predicted for the whole country.

Rightmove named this as the area where it expects house prices to grow the most over the next five years. It says that over this period there will be a huge number of people moving out of London in order to afford to get onto the property ladder. They want a reasonable commute combined with plenty of attractions in the local area, and Southampton offers all this. With relatively affordable housing stock, it's a prime candidate for growth.

Luton was Rightmove's candidate for the second biggest house price rises over the next five years. It emphasised that this isn't a mater of opinion, it is the result of crunching the data.

Luton is another major beneficiary of the move out of London, and while it is arguably not as attractive a place to live as Southampton, it's only 23 minutes into central London - which rivals some of inner London's commuter times. With average prices of £179,368, it's clearly a far more affordable option, and the area has already started to show signs of a boom.

This was the third area suggested by Rightmove. As with Southampton, it is well positioned for London commuters, and also has huge local attractions.

A survey last year asked young professionals to name the place they would most like to live, and Brighton and Hove were the only areas that appeared on the list outside London.

One of the reasons it's not higher up the list is that houses are already on the pricey side, with an average cost of £338,956 - up 13% in the past year alone.

There may be few people who grow up with the dream of living in Swindon, but the electrification of the rail line to London will bring travel times down across the West Country, so Swindon becomes part of the outer commuter area.

Given that the average property costs £168, 968, it's easy to see why Swindon will be a popular option for commuters on a tight budget.

Bath is also going to benefit from electrification of the line, because the commute to London will fall to a manageable 70 minutes. The beauty of the city - along with a vibrant social and cultural life - makes it a clear choice for more long-distance commuters.

Of course, with an average asking price of £374,617, it's not a tremendously cheap place to buy, but the geography of the city restricts development, so these prices are expected to rise still further.

Property Frontiers says that the booming house prices in Oxford are set to get even higher. At the moment, travel to London takes 60 minutes, but this will reduce even further in 2016 when the line is electrified. Prices in the most desirable parts of the centre aren't much cheaper than London.

However, further out there are pockets of affordability, and when the Water Eaton station opens in 2015 it will open up areas to the north of the city too.

Manchester has seen enormous property price rises over the last couple of years, and Property Frontiers expects this to continue into 2015.

Other commentators are expecting the growth to slow over the next few years, especially given the gains made since 2012. However, demand for properties remains buoyant, and with the growth of the local economy, price rises seem inevitable.

Rising prices in London have pushed buyers further and further out of the centre, so estate agents are now claiming zone three as 'the new zone 2'.

Savills believes that the biggest gains over the next five years will be the less glamorous districts - putting the South and East in the frame. Gritty areas that could benefit include Ladywell, Streatham and Catford in the south, and Leytonstone, Forest Gate and Walthamstow in the east.

Cambridge could also perform well. It has already had house prices lifted by the growth of tech companies to the north of the city, and the arrival of pharmaceutical headquarters will help push prices up further.

In 2016 a new rail service from the city to the science park will keep prices rising, and beyond the opportunities presented by the local economy, Cambridge is also part of the 'outer commute' area of London, which Savills expects to shoot up in value over the next five years.


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