Image by Dani Lurie
It seems men and woman have different attitudes towards choosing where to live. 52% of woman live in rented accommodation compared to 37% of men according to research by Cover4LetProperty.
33% of men questioned said that a good relationship with the landlord is important compared to just 6% of woman; whereas 65% of woman said that having a garden is just as important as cost, verses only 9% of men.
From a financial perspective, having a garden can be good for growing your own vegetables, but is likely to cost more than it saves if it requires you to buy gardening tools, weed killer, plants, bug-killer, outdoor furniture, etc. But having a good relationship with your landlord could mean leniency with late-paid rent, and a helpful contact if something breaks down.
If you're living in a rented home, whether you're male or female, the following money saving tips should help you stay in budget.
Letting Agency Fees
You should expect to pay a security deposit and your first month's rent before moving into a new flat. It is illegal for a letting agency to charge a registration fee, or for a list of properties. In Scotland, it's illegal for letting agencies and landlords to charge any additional tenant fees, but in the rest of the UK you may get asked to pay for credit checks, providing an inventory, handing over keys, phone calls and postage. Be aware of any fees before signing any agreements.
If you're sharing a flat, it's a good idea to decide early on how shared bills will be paid. If you don't have a system in place, you might end up missing payments and develop a bad credit rating. You can estimate your monthly total bills (ask the landlord or previous tenant to help with the estimates if you're not sure) and divide the number between tenants. The best way to pay bills is by direct debit, the money will come out of your account automatically when it is due. One solution is to have a primary account holder, with all the bills in their name, and other flatmates pay their share via standing order the day before the direct debit goes out. The issue is that only the account holder will be financially liable if other tenants do not pay. Another solution is to set up a joint account to pay bills, and everyone pays into this account by standing order. The disadvantage of this method is that it financially links you to your flatmates, and their poor credit could affect you.
If you can't afford to pay all your bills this month, the ones to prioritise are Council Tax and TV license, as not paying these will have immediate legal consequences. After that, call your landlord and other suppliers and let them know you're having money problems and ask if your payment can be postponed. Using a budget planner like Money Dashboard can help you identify areas of your lifestyle where you can make cut-backs, and try to pay off your debts before you are charged late fees, interest, see damage to your credit rating, or lose any services.
Finally, keep an eye on the Money Dashboard blog for more ways to save money at home.