More people are renting in the UK than ever before. Last year saw tenants spend a record £51.6bn on rent, which is more than double the £22.6bn paid a decade earlier in 2007. This trend is expected to continue with a recent YouGov survey of tenants and investors predicting that a quarter of UK households will be renting privately by 2022. As more and more people enter the rental market, it will become increasingly important for renters to know how to rent safely and smartly. Below we have compiled some valuable tips that will help you keep on top of your rent payments and out of financial trouble.
Automate your payments
Establish good habits from the very start of your tenancy agreement by setting up automated rental payments. Arrange the payment to come out of your bank account via direct debit before your rent is due to ensure it is always paid on time (preferably ahead of time, just to be sure). This is significantly easier than manually transferring money every month, and completely reduces the chances of you forgetting to transfer it altogether – you do not want to be falling into rent arrears! Remember the date that your rent money will leave your account and always take it into consideration when budgeting for each month.
Synchronise your pay days
The date your rent is due and the date you are paid will most probably stay the same from month to month. This makes budgeting much easier as you can set up rent payments to come out after you have been paid but always before your rent is due. Paying rent late, even if it is consistently paid the day after due date, will look bad on your rental record and could tarnish your reputation when you rent somewhere new in the future. And with renting being an increasingly popular choice for many people in the UK, maintaining a positive rental reputation is more important than ever.
Talk to your landlord or letting agency
If you would like to change the date your rent is due to a more financially convenient time, don’t hesitate to discuss it with your landlord or letting agency. It is in both your interests to agree on the best and most reliable time to pay and receive rent payments. Even if you are struggling to pay rent on time, engaging in conversation early is a much better option than ignoring the problem and so much easier to resolve.
Help improve your credit score
If you always pay your rent on time, there is a free scheme that allows private renters to improve their credit rating at the same time. Launched in 2016, the Rental Exchange Scheme is a joint initiative by Big Issue Invest and Experian. The scheme is free but you will need to get your landlord or letting agent’s consent before joining. For more information or to sign up visit the Credit Ladder website.
Use apps to track and split your bills
There are a variety of apps available on iOS and Android that can help you set reminders for your rent and bills so there’s no reason to ever miss a payment. Apps such as PayPal, Square Cash and Google Pay allow quick and convenient payments to landlords or letting agencies and keep a handy paper trail of payments at your fingertips. These apps also allow renters in joint tenancies to easily manage their collective rent and bills.
Reduce your other expenses
Making a list of your monthly expenses can help you identify areas where you can cut back without too much heartache. Are you paying for subscriptions that you barely use? Are you spending too much money on nights out or new clothes? Or what about the home you’re renting – do you know whether you are on the cheapest tariffs for all of your household bills? Again, talk to your landlord or letting agency. As a renter, you have the right to switch utility suppliers if you pay the supplier directly, just remember to give your landlord a heads-up!