How renting could change in 2021

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2020 has seen everyone face new obstacles with how they work and live. For many people privileged enough to be working from home this year, the lack of commute and no more fancy coffees every morning may have seen savings slowly accrue.

For anyone who’s been living in a shared apartment with others, or had to move back in with the family, your impromptu office at the kitchen table, or even in your bedroom, may have got you to start thinking that a move is on the cards.

The rental market is going to look a lot different in the year ahead. It helps if you know what’s out there, what changes to look for, and what to avoid when renting. I’m not going to highlight specific properties you should be looking at but will be giving some examples of what makes for a good rental in the current market and what ways you can improve your chances of securing a mortgage in the future.

Renting to improve your credit

The debate of whether to rent or save to buy is age-old. Many first-time buyers have the problem of building up their credit rating, especially if trying to do it on your own. That’s why, if you’re a prompt payer of rent, you can use that to your advantage. I highly recommend reading up on the Rental Exchange Initiative. It is a scheme where you sign up, have your rental payments recorded, and the information gets passed over to credit company Experian. 

The idea is that if you’re always paying on time, it will show your good with money and help make it easier to apply for a mortgage or credit card.  Also, if you’re planning on moving out from your current rental while sharing bills and such, make sure it won’t affect your credit rating by getting in touch with a credit reference agency and ask them to put a notice of disassociation in your file. It’s a proactive measure which highlights you’re not part of paying a bill that may end up overdue or on notice.

Renting with more than mod-cons

Imagine being able to move into a new apartment without even thinking of packing up all your stuff and dreading carrying boxes up flights of stairs.

If you’re living in a bigger city in the UK, e.g. the likes of London, Manchester or Glasgow, keep an eye out for apartment buildings which are described as residential leasing. This is a relatively new renting style, where you are living in a fully furnished apartment that already has everything you need. I’m talking the likes of internet, TV, kitchen appliances and pretty much anything else you could think of. It’s becoming extremely popular in London, with companies like Vertus creating residential leasing properties in Canary Wharf, an area

which was never really residential before.

Renting while doing some good

While I think this year has been challenging, it’s also highlighted how charitable and giving most people are. If you’re keen to give back and like the idea of saving on rent, you might be interested in Share & Care. It’s a scheme where those looking for more affordable accommodation are matched with elderly individuals living alone.

The idea is that by living together and dedicating some time each week to helping your new housemate, you’ll be saving money and having a positive impact on someone else’s day.


Rent without letting fees

If you’re planning to move and the landlord/agent tells you that you’ll need to pay letting fees, call them out on it. Letting fees have been made illegal since 2019, and these include the likes of “set-up fees”, credit checks, and paying to check your references. When getting ready to sign a lease, double-check every fee being placed on you, especially if it is permission-based (like having a pet in the property).

Remember, many landlords will have lost out on money in 2020, so make sure you’re not taken advantage of in 2021 when trying to rent.

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