The single person’s guide to renting
According to government figures, around 5.3 million households in the UK are privately rented, of which people aged between 25 and 34 form the largest group of renters, sitting at 1.5 million.
Many of these renters are paying sky-high rents, particularly if they live in the capital.
The median monthly rent in England, for example, recorded between April 2016 and March 2017, was £675, with it doubling for properties in London.
Flat sharing when you are single
Depending on your salary and where you live in the UK, the choice about whether you flat share or opt for the solitude through renting a home of your own, may not be yours to make.
If you need to cut costs on your accommodation then living with friends or strangers is certainly one of the best ways to reduce your monthly outgoings, with rental and household bills usually split equally.
There are, however, some points that you should first consider before living with others in rented accommodation:
Splitting the bills when renting
Energy, internet, water and council tax bills should typically be split among housemates.
Ideally, at the start of your tenancy sit down and calculate estimated monthly payments, and then come to an arrangement on how these bills are going to get paid and when you need to have the money paid to the nominated bill payer.
A standing order will allow you to automatically pay your share into their account each month, preferably a few days before the bill is due.
Be wary of setting up a joint bank account
Be cautious about setting up a joint bank account to cover bills and household necessities because you’ll be creating a financial link to this person/people. This means that their financial history could have an impact on your credit rating.
Selecting who to rent with
Think about the type of person that you could share a home with, alongside your own personal qualities and habits.
If you are a young professional who likes getting up early to go to the gym then you should avoid living with students who like to party late into the night.
When you view the property chat with the tenants and ask pertinent questions that will provide insight into whether you will be a good fit.
Ask yourself if you will feel comfortable living side by side with them.
Renting as a single person
Renting your own house or flat will provide your own space along with more freedom, so long as you can afford it without opting for convenient loans and like the idea of living alone.
The downside, however, is that you will also have to shoulder 100% of the bills and the rent.
Reducing energy cost for singles
To avoid paying over the odds for gas or electricity contact your energy provider and explain your circumstances and that you are looking for a tariff best suited to singles.
Ideally one with no standing charges where you pay only for what you use.
Slashing water bills
Could you be saving money by switching from paying standard water rates to a meter?
The Consumer Council for Water suggests that typically, people living alone are likely to benefit from a meter.
It suggests that a single person living alone in a property on the average “rateable” value could save around £100 a year. Try the water meter calculator on its website.
Single person’s discount for Council tax
If you are the sole occupant of a property you get a 25% discount off your council tax bill, but you will need to apply for it through your local council.