How to rent right: our tips for tenants

Does renting a property seem your only option for the foreseeable future? You’re not alone. A 2015 report by PwC estimates that – by 2025 - more than half of under 40s will be renting from private landlords. So how do you make the most of it and protect yourself along the way? Here are five renting tips for tenants.

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Become a property guardian

If you’re on the hunt for a new place, you don’t have to limit your search to flats and houses . If you’re flexible about your lifestyle and location (and cheap rent wouldn’t go amiss), look into becoming a property guardian instead. From schools to churches, dozens of empty building s around the country are available to tenants whose presence deters squatters from moving in.

As you might expect, there are compromises to the lower rents on offer – some buildings can be basic or in out-of-town locations, and you may have to share with others, but you could end up having a really unique experience.

There are quite a few companies who act as agents for property guardianship. Camelot manages thousands of properties across the UK and Europe, while Adhoc is especially strong for Lancashire, the West Midlands, Yorkshire and Merseyside.

Get instant removal cost comparisons

If you’re not moving furniture, chances are all you’ll need is the use of a car and a couple of kind friends to help you. But if you’re shifting an entire flat (or just a heck of a lot of stuff), save time phoning round removal companies with a visit to ReallyMoving.com. Just fill out a short form and get five quotes instantly, from experienced and regulated firms.

“If you do find yourself in a difficult situation or dispute, there are places you can turn.””

Introduce a property diary

When you move into a place (even if other people are already there), buy a diary where you can log all of the important things relating to the property. You might just want to put in things like bill payment dates, any incidents like leaks - it’s up to you how much detail you go into. Keep the diary in the same place in the flat, so every tenant can add information over time. It means every date is logged in one place, so if housemates come and go, there’s always a record of what happened when.

Check you’re in the right council tax band

According to an article on the Money Saving Expert site, up to 400,000 homes in England and Scotland are in the wrong council tax bands. And not only is it fast and free to check if your home (yes, even a rented one) is one of them, if your property has been overpaying, the rebate could even be backdated.12

It’s important to note that if you challenge your council tax band, there’s always a chance the one you’re on could turn out to be lower than it should be, and that could mean it increases. You should also talk to your landlord before you check it too, so you can agree who’s entitled to any rebate.

Problems? Find some free legal advice

On the whole, tenancies (particularly through agencies) run smoothly and without any major problems. But if you do find yourself in a difficult situation or dispute, there are places you can turn. LandlordLawBlog.co.uk have put together a list of 15 services that could be useful to tenants looking for legal advice. From Citizens Advice Bureau to the official Property Ombudsman, it’s a link worth saving for future reference.

This blog is a bit of fun and not intended to influence your decisions in any way. The content of the blog is reliable at the time of publishing, but we can’t guarantee that it is neither error nor omission free, beyond our knowledge. The links are there for you to explore if you wish, but we don’t have any connection with the third party sites, nor responsibility for them or their content.