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How much rent can you afford

how much rent can you afford

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If you are thinking about signing up to a tenancy agreement it’s important to do your sums in advance. Committing to rent a property usually entails the signing of a legally binding rental contract, so you need to be sure you can afford to keep up with your rental payments to avoid getting into debt. Here are a few key things to consider when working out just how much you can afford.

Upfront Costs

Every rental agreement involves a few additional upfront payments, so you will need to have some cash available before your rental term even begins. Typical costs can include:

  • Rental Deposit – this it usually valued at around 4-6 weeks’ worth of rent. It is intended to act as a protection buffer for the landlord, who will usually have the right to retain all or part of the deposit at the end of the tenancy if any damage has occurred at the property during your stay there. If you have maintained the property in good condition the deposit will normally be returned to you in full when you move out, but until then the cash is out of your hands
  • Note – some local authorities offer rent guarantee schemes to help those for whom raising a deposit is not possible, but be aware this may limit your choice of housing as not all landlords or lettings agents accept this form of deposit
  • Letting Agency Fees – if you rent through a lettings agent you may incur a variety of fees for their services, including reference checking and tenancy renewal services
  • Storage or Moving Fees – if you are able to move your possessions yourself this can save you a lot of money, but if you will need to services of a removals company, or a storage facility, then it’s vital to obtain quotes before you commit to a rental agreement to ensure you can meet these costs
  • Furniture and Soft Furnishings – an unfurnished rental property may sound ideal, but it’s important not to underestimate the costs of furnishing the place to make it feel homely. This can be done on a budget, but will still require some ££ in the pot to achieve

Standard Monthly Costs

On the face of it you may feel that the monthly rental amount required is well within reach of your budget. But this large chunk of cash is not the only monthly outgoing you will incur, so make sure you also anticipate and account for the following essential costs:

  • Gas and Electric
  • Water
  • Council Tax – unless you are exempt
  • Service charges – usually only applicable to apartments and flats

Your landlord or lettings agent should be able to offer an estimate of these bills. Other non-essential but important bills include:

  • Contents insurance
  • TV Licence
  • Telephone landline
  • Digital or Satellite TV subscriptions
  • Internet provision

Talking to friends and family will help to give you and idea of how much to budget for these various bills, and you can also glean some useful information online about average living costs.

how much rent can you afford

Living Expenses

Servicing the bills associated with renting and running a home is of course only half the story. You have to live too, so when considering how much rent you can afford you must also factor in your monthly living costs. These may include:

  • Food
  • Mobile Telephone
  • Fuel and other travel expenses
  • Clothes
  • Childcare
  • Loan or credit repayments
  • Fun – hobbies, nights out, gym membership etc.

Make a Budget

Once you’ve considered all of the above you need to organise your thoughts on paper or on the PC in the form of a budget. A simple list of Income vs Outgoings is all you need. Add up each list, and you will quickly be able to see how much rent you can afford. Remember also that life will always throw up the occasional need for unexpected expenditure, and one-off or annual cost events that can catch you out. Christmas, a holiday, a broken down washing machine – these can all make a significant dent in an already stretched budget. If at all possible leave a little slack in your budget to cover these eventualities.




About Cally Worden

About Cally Worden

Seasoned freelance writer Cally Worden lives with her family and dog in a quiet corner of rural France. A love of the outdoors, and a fascination with her children's ability to view life with fresh eyes provide the inspiration for much of her work. Cally writes regularly for various websites and UK print publications on subjects as diverse as parenting, travel, lifestyle, and business, and anything that makes her smile.

Website: Cally Worden

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