If you're planning to rent a property in the near future, one of your primary concerns should be ensuring you choose a property that is affordable. You shouldn't just think about the monthly rental payments either – consider utility bills, council tax and your ongoing expenses (such as loans, car leases or child maintenance costs).
When it comes to renting, your largest initial outlay is likely to be the deposit. This varies from property to property and typically, will be one month's worth of rent.
However, some landlords will expect up to three months' payment in advance, so budget accordingly and make sure you know the deposit before signing any paperwork. If you go through an agent, you may also have to pay a one off fee for the paperwork administration.
However, once you're in the property, that's not where your budgeting ends. Not only will you need to make the monthly rental payments (and on time), but you'll also need to factor in utility bills and council tax. Occasionally utility bills are included in your rental fee, but this isn't overly common.
You'll be able to find out the cost of council tax from your landlord or the agent responsible for the property. Other bills, such as gas, electricity and water, will be determined by your supplier. In most instances these are monthly costs, but it can be possible to pay quarterly if you so wish.
If you've found a property you like the look of, it's worth asking the following questions – to ensure being able to budget accordingly:
Each of these questions is designed to help you better manage your budget and ensure your money goes further each month.
In Scotland, the rent deposit scheme is in place to protect tenants and ensure they have the best possible chance of receiving their deposit back at the end of the agreed term. The deposit is protected by an independent party, with three operating in Scotland:
In fact, every landlord letting out a property in Scotland must:
In simple terms, if the landlord has registered with a local authority and taken a deposit from the tenant, they must comply with the rent deposit regulations. There are exceptions though, such as:
It should be noted; these regulations only apply in Scotland.
If you're receiving a low income and struggling to make monthly rental payments, you could be eligible for Housing Benefit. Dependent on your situation, you may be entitled to having the whole, or part of your rent paid. There is no set amount you will receive and instead, it's worthwhile using one of the government's calculators to assess your circumstances.
You could be eligible if:
For more information and to see if you’re eligible, call the Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 6688.
The tenancy deposit scheme is the responsibility of the landlord only. If the letting agent takes your deposit, it remains the landlord’s prerogative to ensure the correct measures are taken. As such, it is only the landlord that could fall foul of the law, and is ultimately responsible.