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Money for Life work in partnership with the Money Advice Service, an independent organisation set up by government. Money AdviceService provides free, unbiased money guidance across the UK to help people make the most of their money.  If you have a question or need help, you can chat to them here.

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Moving out? Here’s everything you need to know about your first place

By Faith Archer from Much More With Less

Keen to move into your own place? Faith Archer from Much More With Less has tips on renting for the first time.

Moving out is big step, whether you are sharing with friends, strangers or living it up in your own place.

So if you’re thinking about getting out there on your own but have no clue where to start, take a look at our guide to first time renting.

Show me the money – how much do I need to move out?

Start by looking at how much places cost to rent each month, and what you can afford. You’ll need to scrape together at least a month’s rent in advance, plus rent for another month as a deposit, before you move in. Start cutting back and putting a small amount away a month now – you’ll have enough before you know it!

You can get a budgeting loan to help you out if you’re on benefits. Just fill in this form and send it to your nearest Jobcentre. Money will be taken out of your benefits each month for two years to pay it back.

Any other costs?

Bills. Bills. Bills. You’ll need to factor in the boring stuff like Council tax and water. Don’t forget TV licence and broadband too. It normally work out cheaper if you opt for a house share – but make sure you suss out who you’re going to live with first!

If you use a lettings agent to find a pad, they’ll want money too – unless you’re renting in Scotland, where lettings fees are banned. Lettings agency fees are meant to be banned elsewhere too, but only from 2019. So expect to pay a few hundred pounds for other costs.

Will they let just anyone move in?

The chances are your landlord or letting agent will want to do a reference check before you move in. This is just to make sure you’re likely to pay them their rent.

You will need to dig out a bunch of paperwork to prove your identity and show you can afford the rent. This means stuff like photo ID from a passport or driving licence, bank statements, payslips or accounts, proof of benefits and any employment contract.

The landlord or agency may also ask for a reference from a previous landlord, to check if you will make a good tenant. This is tricky if you’ve never rented before. Ask if they will accept a reference from your parents, guardian or employer instead.

So now it’s time to sign my life away?

Most tenants sign a tenancy agreement to rent for six months, but some contracts last for longer. However boring, do read it, especially any parts about how long you have to tell them before moving out and when and how much they might put the rent up. If you sign a contract for a certain rent for a certain time, your landlord can’t suddenly hike up the rent just because they feel like it.

If you see anything that needs fixing, ask the agent or landlord to get it sorted out before you move in. Then ask for contact details for the landlord, or the person at the agency responsible for arranging repairs, if anything goes wrong afterwards.

Where does my deposit go?

Within 30 days, the landlord or lettings agent should let you know where they are holding your deposit.

If you’ve signed the most common type of contract (aka an ‘assured shorthold tenancy’), the landlord can’t just pocket your deposit. Instead, if you’re renting in England or Wales, the landlord must put your deposit in a tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme. They must also tell you which TDP scheme they’re using within 30 days of you paying the deposit.

Just remember that you have responsibilities too, to pay your rent and bills on time and avoid disturbing the neighbours.

Right, so is it housewarming party time yet?!

Getting the keys to your own place is a brilliant feeling, but there’s a few things you’ve got to sort.

Find the gas, electricity and any water meter, and write down the readings or snap a quick pic on your phone. This could help avoid getting stuck with the bill for power and water used by the people who lived there before.

Check the inventory, which is a list of everything in the property from curtains to cups, to see if anything is missing. This is important because you’ll be responsible for making sure it’s all there when you leave, or paying for anything that isn’t. Hang on to a copy ready for when you move out and it’s time to get your deposit back.

Again, whip your phone out to take photos of any damage.

For more information

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Money for Life work in partnership with the Money Advice Service, an independent organisation set up by government. Money AdviceService provides free, unbiased money guidance across the UK to help people make the most of their money.  If you have a question or need help, you can chat to them here.

Launch Chat

Chat to the Money Advice Service
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
Saturday, 9am to 1pm.