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Renters cautioned over property moves

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People who rent their home have been warned to take into account the extra costs associated with property rental.

Data from the Office for National Statistics suggested that moving into a property is more stressful than both bankruptcy and divorce.

The Money Advice Service said there were more potential issues for people who live in rented properties and warned tenants to be aware of the risks.

It said that many people forgot to include service charges associated with their property and underestimated household bills. Many deposits are left unprotected and vulnerable to unscrupulous landlords, the service added.

Nick Hill, money expert at the Money Advice Service, said: “Being hit by unexpected or higher than planned costs can really add to the stress of a house move. And when renting a property, these costs can really add up. Putting a little time aside to plan ahead and confirm everything you’ll need to pay can be a really sensible move and help avoid any nasty surprises. It makes sense to do this before committing to the move to ensure you’ll have enough.

“If you need to save up for the move, our budget planner is a really useful tool which shows you how much you have left over after you’ve paid all your important bills and costs – which then gives you a good idea of how long you’ll need to save for to cover your moving costs.”

Nick Hill’s top tips for renters:

TIP ONE: Calculate how much rent you can afford: Look at all your outgoings to gain an understanding on how much rent you can afford to pay each month. Remember that renting involves having to pay other bills on top, so take into consideration common household bills such as council tax, gas and electricity, TV licence and water bills as well as service charge depending on the building.

TIP TWO: Save for your deposit and make sure it’s protected: One of the biggest costs can be the deposit, which can be between four to six weeks’ rent – so most people will need to save up for this. Also check that your deposit will be protected. If you’re signing onto an ‘assured shorthold tenancy’ your landlord must put the deposit in a protection scheme.

TIP THREE: Minimise your ongoing costs: Moving in is your opportunity to make sure your ongoing costs are not stopping you from saving up for the fun stuff like going on holiday. Shopping around for the best deal can make a big difference. If you’re not sure where to start, go to the Money Advice Service website for a list of comparison sites to help you.

TIP FOUR: Pay your bills on time: To avoid gaining a bad credit rating, make sure you’re financially able to pay bills in your name on time. Create a list of key bills you and your housemates need to budget for and keep it in the kitchen, as this could serve as a reminder to people for the month ahead. You could also consider setting up a Direct Debit to help prevent you from missing payments.

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