Energy prices and the cost of living are rising. We’ve already shared some tips on how you can reduce the cost of moving – so how could you save money and what financial support could be available once you’re in your rental home?
1. Know what you can be charged
First up, since 2019, most letting fees have been banned. The holding deposit you’ll pay is also capped at 1 week’s rent, and the security deposit at 5 week’s rent, in most cases. Your agent or landlord can only charge you over and above that in three situations: if you pay your rent late, if you lose your keys, and if you want to change the terms of your tenancy. This means, no extra costs for check-in, inventory, cleaning, or admin – something to remember throughout your time in the property.
2. Access a council tax discount
If you’re 18 or over and renting your home, you’ll normally have to pay council tax. Your bill will primarily be based on two adults sharing a home – so if you don’t fit this criteria, you may be eligible for a discount.
If you’re an adult living on your own or with under-18 year olds, you could get 25% off the rate. If you’re under 18, you’ll be eligible for a 50% discount and, if you’re a full-time student, you won’t have to pay a thing. You’ll simply need to get in touch with your council to make them aware of your living situation if you feel you’re being charged the wrong amount.
3. Find free furniture
If you’re looking for ways to kit out your part-furnished or unfurnished rented home, you don’t have to pay the earth. You can keep an eye on community services such as Freecycle and Freegle which match people wanting to get rid of unwanted furnishings – and more – with people looking for those items.
4. Check if you need your own TV licence
If you watch or record live TV – even if it’s streamed – you should have a TV licence. You only need one per household and you should ask your landlord if they already have a licence which covers the property, before paying separately. However, if you don’t live with your landlord and you’re in a self-contained home – such as a separate flat – you’ll need your own licence.
5. Take meter readings
You should take regular meter readings to make sure that your energy bills are accurate. You should especially make sure that you take one as soon as you move in and when you move out too, so you don’t continue to pay for someone else’s energy.
6. Boost your credit score
Did you know that paying your rent on time can help you access finance, such as loans or mortgages, more easily in the future? Experian is one company that can help you boost your credit score. If you connect to their services through one of their partners, such as Credit Ladder, they’ll be able to see that you pay your rent on time and they’ll keep a log of that in your credit file.
7. Check out the financial support available
If you struggle to pay for your energy bills, there is financial support out there. Check out the government’s site for what you may be able to access this winter, including the Warm Home Discount Scheme, Cold Weather Payment, Winter Fuel Payment, the Household Support Fund – which you’ll need to contact your local council to access – and you can contact your energy supplier, to check if they have any further support to offer.