RISING rents are squeezing household budgets but there are steps you can take now to save money.
It might not be possible to reduce how much rent you pay, but there are six things tenants can do to save hundreds of pounds.
Renting can be expensive but if you make sure you know your tenancy rights, there's ways to make it cheaper.
From getting money back on your Council Tax bill to reducing your energy usage, it's possible to save cash.
You should make sure your landlord is paying for everything they're responsible for, so you don't have to fork out.
We explain what tenants can do now to save hundreds of pounds.
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Find out about the Council Tax rebate
If your landlord pays your Council Tax bill – for example, if your bills are included in your rent – you should find out how to access the £150 Council Tax rebate.
The rebate is a one-off payment for those living in properties in Council Tax bands A to D.
As you're the one who actually pays the bill, through your landlord, you might still be able to get help – even if the Council Tax account isn't in your name.
Local councils have discretionary funds to help people who won't automatically get the rebate – such as people who live in a house of multiple occupation.
Contact your local council to find out if you're eligible and how to access the cash.
Choose your own electricity supplier
You should be able to choose your own electricity supplier.
At the moment, many energy firms aren't encouraging people to switch as the cheapest rate will be your company's standard variable tariff.
That tariff is protected by the energy price cap.
But it's worth keeping an eye out for cheaper deals, and know that you have the right to switch if you want to.
Ways to reduce your bills
With energy prices rocketing, you might be looking for ways to reduce your bills.
As a tenant, you won't be able to make any major changes to your home – but there are temporary fixes you can do to save money.
For example, putting foil behind your radiator can help you knock cash off your energy bills.
Switching your bulbs to LEDs can also reduce the amount of electricity you use.
Draught excluders are cheap to buy but can save you £74 a year, and covering windows in clingfilm can cut your heating bills.
Make sure you don't cause any damage to the house when you're making your temporary fixes, as this could be costly.
Don’t pay for things your landlord should fix
Your landlord is responsible for most repairs in your home, so don't waste money fixing things that should be covered by them.
According to housing charity Shelter, their responsibilities include repairs to:
- electrical wiring
- gas pipes and boilers
- heating and hot water
- chimneys and ventilation
- sinks, baths, toilets, pipes and drains
- common areas including entrance halls and stairways
- the structure and exterior of the building, including walls, stairs and bannisters, roof, external doors and windows
They should also pay for any decorating that needs to be done once the repair is finished.
Your landlord must carry out repairs within a reasonable period of time, depending on how serious the problem is.
Check your tenancy agreement
Check your tenancy agreement to see if your landlord is also responsible for any extras.
For example, it may say they should pay for other repairs such as faulty fridges or washing machines.
It could also include information on things you have to pay for, such as covering the cost of a cleaner when you move out.
Take a full inventory
When you move into a new rented property, ask your landlord for a full list of what should be in the house.
Take a full inventory of what is there, and make sure to collect evidence of any damage to the property, including photographs.
This will help you avoid any disputes with the landlord at the end of your tenancy, and make it easier to get your full deposit back when you move on.
What help is available for housing costs?
If you're struggling to pay your rent, you might be eligible for extra help.
You might be able to apply to your local council's welfare assistance scheme for a grant to put towards keeping a roof over your head if you're struggling with your rent.
Many local authorities run welfare assistance schemes, which are available to people on a low income who have run into financial difficulties – or who have had to deal with a crisis.
A Sun investigation revealed last year that councils handing out grants have soared by 210% in some places.
Some councils, like East Riding of Yorkshire, are handing out up to £1,000 in free cash for families to put towards rent.
You could also apply for a council tax reduction, which are available for those on low-incomes, people claiming certain benefits, those caring for others as well as other circumstances.
The amount your bill is reduced by can range from 25% off to 100% which would mean you pay nothing at all for this bill.
The reduction you get will depend on a number of factors, including where you live, your circumstances, your income and how many adults and children live with you.
We explain how you can apply for a discount here.
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If you're on Universal Credit or other benefits you could get a discretionary housing payment.
The amount you'll get will vary and you can use it to cover a rent shortfall, rent deposits, or rent in advance if you need to move house.
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