In years gone by, renting a home from a landlord was widely considered to be a stepping stone in the housing market, while people saved money towards buying a property of their own in the future.
The market has changed over the last decade, with tenants now renting for longer periods. Home ownership affordability and housing supply issues have increased the demand on and necessity for long-term renting, making it the norm for many of us. But, either way, the Private Rented Sector (PRS) looks set to grow further in the coming years.
Making the most of your rented home
Over the course of your tenancy, you'll benefit if you know your rights as a tenant, while understanding your tenancy agreement and what is expected of you.
You'll also want to do everything you can to make your rental property feel like home. You can decorate it (within reason) and get to know your neighbours.
Recent legislation means your landlord has to meet a minimum requirement of energy efficiency. If your property has an Energy Performance Certificate rating of an F- or a G-, they'll need to make improvements which could save you money on bills and make the property more comfortable to live in.
With spring now upon us, you can also make the most of your outdoor space by planting flowers, mowing the lawn and carrying out the arduous but rewarding task of weeding!
These are just some ideas to get you started. The more you do to make your rental property feel like home, the more fulfilling your tenancy will be.
How can tenants save money?
For the majority of private tenants, monthly rental payments are likely to take up a substantial portion of income and that's why it's crucial to think about the ways you can keep outgoings down without compromising your lifestyle.
In order to stay on top of your finances, it can be beneficial to have a monthly budget and keep an eye on things by using a budget calculator or spreadsheet.
Other ways you can save money include shopping around, using vouchers and websites like MoneySavingExpert. One recent phenomenon where you can enjoy the finer things in life for a lower cost is called 'off-peaking' - you can read about how it works here.
When the summer months come, you won't want to be stuck inside worrying about your finances. There are plenty of great summer activities you can do on a budget, including going to the coast and using your local parks to their full potential.
You'll also want to transfer some of your money saving skills to your rental home and brighten up your property through upcycling and decorating, while taking advantage of auctions and websites like freecycle.
The landscape’s changing for tenants
With the PRS now such an integral part of the housing market, the Government has been paying the sector closer attention. This has resulted in increased regulation designed to favour tenants including the ban on up-front letting agent fees and the five-week cap on security deposits.
What’s more, there has been a conscious effort in recent years to stamp out the minority of rogue landlords and letting agents, contributing towards rental property standards that are improving year-on-year.
Now is a good time to be a Millennial tenant, particularly if you make the most of your situation and are efficient with your finances.