Estimate the cost of your rent plus bills.

Renting a home involves more than just being able to pay your rent.

Here’s a list of the most common bills you should expect to pay as a tenant.

Water bills (usually paid monthly)

Service charges (in some properties – paid monthly or annually)

Council Tax (usually paid monthly – England, Scotland and Wales) or rates bill (N.I)

-Gas and electricity bills (either by a pre-payment meter, monthly by Direct debit)

Ask the agency, landlord or previous tenant to give you estimates for these bills when you have a look around the property.

Other monthly costs affecting how much rent you can afford.

Bear in mind you will probably have extra monthly bills to pay, such as:

A TV licence (paid monthly or annually –

Landline phone bill (plus any connection charges – can be paid quarterly or monthly)

Contents insurance (paid monthly or annually)

Digital TV or satellite TV subscriptions (paid monthly)

Broadband bill (paid monthly or quarterly)

Draw up a budget of all of your costs.

You should also try to make a realistic estimate of what you’ll spend each month on other day-to-day expenses such as:

Mobile phone

Food/clothes

Travel/car insurance

Childcare/maintenance

Gym/hobbies/nights out

Loans or credit card repayments

If in doubt, over-estimate rather than under-estimate.

You don’t want to risk getting into debt after a few months because you forgot to factor in one of your regular monthly payments.

Once you have estimates for each of these items, you can draw up a budget so you can calculate how much rent you can afford.

This will show you exactly how much money you have coming in each month and how much you have going out in expenses.

Then you’ll have peace of mind you will have enough money to live on, once you have paid your rent.

Remember to divide an annual expense – such as paying for Christmas or a summer holiday – by 12, so the cost is split evenly across the year.

Don’t forget the upfront costs.

Before you sign the tenancy agreement, you’ll need to make sure you can afford to pay the costs of moving into the property.

Rental deposit

Your deposit is likely to be the biggest expense if you’re renting a new place, so make sure you have these funds before you commit yourself.

Removal or storage fees

Get local estimates for these.

You can probably save yourself money by hiring a van and doing the job yourself, if you’re up to it!

Furniture or furnishings

If you’re moving to an unfurnished place, don’t forget to budget for the cost of furniture and soft furnishings such as curtains.

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