Renting for the First Time

banner for post on renting for the first time

So, you’ve decided you’re moving out of the family home. Whether this is because you’re going to college or you feel it’s time, it’s a big step.  

Having your own place can bring a lot of freedom but with it come financial responsibilities. We’re here to fill you in on what to be aware of when preparing to move into rental accommodation. Being mindful of some of the common pitfalls can help to make the process a lot easier.

At the moment, rental property availability is low, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t start renting. It just means that you will need to be more prepared, and it is never too early to start making a plan.

Read on to find out things you need to consider. 


You might have an idea where you want to live, so start there – have a look at estate agent’s websites or to get an idea of what rent is charged and for what type of properties. If you’re a student – be sure to check out your Students’ Union and college website for information on accommodation. 

Ask yourself, are you going to move in with friends/partner, do a house share or do you want a place all to yourself? There are many considerations with this decision alone. If you want a place all to yourself, it’s going to be a lot more expensive than sharing with friends or in a house-share.  

If you’re going to live with friends, you’ll need to establish guidelines, such as, a household budget for shared bills and rent, a chore rota or just general housemate behaviours/etiquette. It’s best to discuss this before you sign a lease! 

Saving for your deposit 

Once you’ve established where you want to live and who you’ll be living with, you’ll have a good idea of how much the rent will be each month. This means that you can start budgeting for your rent and deposit (deposit = 1 month’s rent).  

Test your ability to pay  

Not planning to rent just yet? Start planning now, it will mean that you are more prepared for when you need to rent.  

A good way to see how much you can afford is to set aside the expected rent on a regular basis. Typically rent is paid monthly, so start by setting aside what you expect to pay each month on rent. If you are paid weekly or fortnightly, then put aside a smaller amount from each pay packet so that it adds up to what you expect to pay for rent each month.  

Try this for a few months or as long as you can.  Use this opportunity to check if you can comfortably afford the expected rent with your current outgoings, such as car costs, loans repayments, phone credit or other regular bills. If you find you’re struggling to make ends meet, then you may need to revise your location or living situation or both. You’ll need to find something that’s more comfortable for your finances. 

An added bonus of starting to test your ability to pay will mean that you have an bank of money to spend on essentials before you move in or to cover the deposit. Starting the process of planning earlier will help to reduce the risk of being derailed by costly surprises. 

Top tip – remember, when budgeting for your rent, most rentals will not include electricity, heating, broadband/tv bills or bins in the rent. These are extra costs to consider and budget for! 

Additional costs 

So, you’re all ready to move in, you have a deposit together and have a healthy budget you know you can manage. Check your lease to see if there’s an inventory list of furniture and appliances, if there isn’t, request one. This is important so you and your landlord have written evidence of what is in the apartment/house/room (in a house share) before you move in. This will help to avoid any disputes when you’re leaving or when it comes to repairs.  

On top of your rent and deposit, you’ll need some extra money to cover essentials that won’t be provided, these can include: 

  • Bedding – a duvet, pillows, and sheets. 
  • Kitchen essentials – cups, plates, bowls, cutlery, and glasses (if not provided). 
  • A kettle! Most rentals don’t supply these, and after a long day of moving you might want a cuppa so be sure to have your kettle easily accessible. 
  • Don’t forget a trip to the shops to get milk, bread, and whatever essentials you’ll need in the first day or two. You’ll be busy moving and unpacking. 
  • If you’re using your own furniture, you’ll need to factor in the costs of a moving van and any people who are helping you move. 
  • Cleaning supplies – a sweeping brush, vacuum cleaner (if not provided), a mop, kitchen/bathroom cleaner etc. 

If you’re going to be sharing your accommodation with friends or a partner, you can discuss and work out what you think you’ll need and can budget accordingly. 

Before you sign  

Ask to view the property again before committing to anything. Note any issues such as mould/damp, damage to walls or furniture (take photos) and agree on these with the landlord/letting agent with both parties signing that these issues were there before a deposit was paid. Ensure these issues are included again with your lease when you’re signing to avoid problems with your deposit when your lease is up. 

And again, before you move any boxes into your new home, take photos of the house/apartment/room. Take specific photos of any issues, such as mould/damp, holes, or dents in walls that weren’t captured as part of the lease. Keep these somewhere safe – even print them with their time stamps and keep them with your lease. 

Now that you are equipped with some knowledge and tips, happy renting! 

Check out these useful links below for extra information! 


Have you any rental tips to share? Share them with us on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram. 
You can call the MABS National Helpline on 0818 07 2000 Monday to Friday, from 9am to 8pm, WhatsApp 086 035 3141 or find the contact details for your local office.