Things to Consider When You’re Renting

The deposit’s been paid, the keys are ready to pick up, and you’re about to move into your new home. Rented, obviously, because hello, house prices are insane. After my previous post on finding an affordable place to rent in London went down so well, I wanted to do a bit of a follow up post on what you need to do when you’ve found your new place.

I’ve had my fair share of experience with renting over the past eight years – but if you’re stepping out on your own for the first time, here are some of the essential things to think about before you move in!

Bills

Yep, getting the yawn-some stuff out of the way first. If you’re renting for the first time, you have the wonderful joys of paying bills to look forward to. OH HELLO ENVELOPE FLOATING DOWN FROM MY LETTERBOX! Yeah, that’ll be Thames Water again.

The ‘big three’ bills you’ll probably encounter are:

  • Council Tax (check which band you’re in here, and the amount you’ll have to pay for that band with your local authority). As a rough idea – for a 1 bedroom flat in London, we pay £111 per month between two.
  • Electricity & Gas – as soon as you move in, if you have meters, take a snap of them and send it to your chosen provider. As another guide – between the two of us, our bill’s around £30 per month – less in the summer, more in the winter.
  • Water (there can sometimes also be a separate waste water payment, depending on where you are). We pay around £28 per month.

And you’ll also want to think about:

  • Internet (obv. Make sure you organise this in advance so you get as little web-less time as possible when you move in)
  • TV license (if you’re watching anything live or on BBC iPlayer)

Usually landlords will supply you with details of the service providers they use – but you don’t have to go with what they suggest, and I’d advise shopping around for a better deal.

Rented house advice

Contents Insurance

Getting broken into and having your stuff stolen is, quite obviously, pants. Which is why contents insurance is super important, as chances are you won’t have the spare change to replace all the things that could get stolen. Your landlord is responsible for insuring the building itself, but contents is down to you. It can sometimes be a bit of a struggle to get through all the jargon of insurance, so check out HomeLet – they specialise in insurance for tenants (and landlords!).

A little note – if you’re in a shared block, check if your insurance covers communal areas. I once left a suitcase inside the (secured) hallway to my flats, and three minutes later, it had vanished. And – check the costs of adding personal items/handbag cover onto it too, so your stuff’s protected inside AND outside your home.

Essential household things

Most flats do tend to come at least part furnished, so that shouldn’t be too much of an issue for you. At the very least, you’ll at least have the kitchen mostly sorted with a fridge freezer, oven and washing machine. If you do need to pick up furniture for the rest of the place, definitely check out Freecycle. I managed to bag myself an almost-new Dwell sofa without paying a penny, and it’s legit the comfiest sofa I’ve ever parked my bum on.

The stuff you’ll have to bring in yourself are the smaller bits and pieces – plates, tea towels, all the super exciting things. Check first whether anything’s been left, as landlords sometimes provide some bits or the previous tenant may have left their hoover. See what you can pick up for free from willing relatives – their unused plates, unboxed toasters and goodwill might help you save a whole heap on buying new.

I’ve put together a handy lil checklist (don’t say I’m not good to you) here, of the ‘absolute essential’ and ‘good to have’ bits you’ll need to move in with. Feel free to download, print out, give to willing family members, etc etc.

Debenhams-AW16-Home-Inspiration

Making your house a home

Alright, so, you can’t run around your slightly tired looking 1960s one-bed with a roller of pink paint and plans for a leopard print feature wall. But even with limitations, you can still make a rented house feel like a home with simple bits and pieces that don’t break the bank.

Throws and cushions: Can’t help yourself from wondering who’s bums have been on that slightly off-colour cream sofa? A brightly coloured throw and some squishy cushions are the easiest ways to make your living area a cosy space to curl up in.
Curtains (for more advanced level renters): Most rentals will probably come with curtains, but chances are they’ll be basic. When I moved into one of my London flats, the curtains were ridiculously thin, so I went out and found some thick, purple ones that instantly brightened up the room AND kept more warmth in.
Pictures: Most landlords might have an issue with you knocking holes for hooks into the walls, so velcro style hanging strips come in incredibly handy.
Bedsheets: Choose your duvet covers with care – they can transform a small bedroom really easily!
Plants: I love putting a few plants around the flat to brighten it up a bit and instantly lift my mood. As long as you’re better than me at remembering to water them regularly…

What are your top tips for moving into a new home?

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  • It is such a big shock when you go from living at home to renting – I sometimes wish I could back and enjoy the rent free days all over again.

  • LaaLaa

    Some excellent and helpful tips for renting. I’ve not made that move yet but boy I know it’s going to be something doing it solo or with someone x

  • All these extras add up so worth thinking about! Some great advice and money saving tips.

  • Georgina

    so many things that I would never even think about ahh

    http://www.georginadoes.co.uk

  • With Love, Lottie

    I’ve never rented but bought my own home so same things apply! Bills are so stressful

  • Clarissa

    make sure you have dates for bills to go out, things like gas and electric key or card the shops that you can get them especially if its late and you need it ! or if that shop doesn’t do it saves the upset of looking around for it. been there

  • I rent at at the moment and these are all important. I got lots of cushions and throws to make it more of a home

  • So many people forget about council tax when they’re working out monthly costs. Living on my own means my council tax is pretty shocking even with the single person occupancy x

  • I love moving home. I’ve been living ten years now in the house I’m currently in, the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere. I could have used these handy tips when I was first starting off all those many, many years ago!

  • This is a great list! I’ve lived in rented properties for 9 years now. I am definitely going to be sharing this, as it’ll be very handy for first time renters!

  • When I moved into my apartment last year I did all this now I have it down to a T. Awesome tips, remember to create a spreadsheet of expenditures

  • Laura

    My tips for moving into a place are to buy the essentials first. Dont go wild with soft furnishings etc that isn’t necessary. Make sure you can afford your bills first! xxx

  • Yes, I lived renting for 6 years in the UK and there is really so much to consider.

  • Fab post with useful tips. They are spot on for those renting.

  • jigsawparenting

    what a fab post with some amazing ideas and tips so thank you

  • Francesca Nelson

    When I rented my first flat I was so clueless as to what to expect!! They don’t teach you all the need to knows at school when it comes to life so was a big reality check when it became my time! This is really helpful!

  • Great tips here, I don’t rent but having your own place is just as expensive and full of unexpected bills! x

  • Great tips! We rent in Dorset and it’s bloomin expensive! Not as much as London but I do cringe at my bank statement every month! When we moved to this house a few years ago I downloaded an app to put in all my outgoings which really helped as even as though I’ve been renting for 8 years nearly it’s helpful to see your expenditures in one place as on your bank statements it’s all scattered.

  • Melanie Edjourian

    When moving into a new home I’d say go for the essentials first to keep costs down, it’s amazing how fast things can accumulate.

  • Awesome tips!!! We don’t rent but we own our apartment and it can also be quite expensive.

  • Rosana McPhee

    Good tips here. Gone are my days of renting but this is very helpful for renters. R

  • Amy

    Great tips – I’ve just written a similar post myself!! Renting can be quite expensive so it’s good to get clued up before. x

  • bericebaby

    Theres always so much to think about when renting.
    These are awesome tips hun, I hope I never have to rent but living with your rents isn’t too bad.
    Charlotte x