The five stages of renting

For many renting is the only realistic option

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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