Renting for the Millennial Generation
It feels as though change is once more afoot economically. There is so much not just on the horizon but also happening right now. The high street is altering, and there is generational change too. I read that the Millennial Generation (normally defined as being those born between the early 1980s and 2000) are not only the largest generation but are also, according to Goldman Sachs, “poised to reshape the economy”.
Some economists believe that this is largely because as a generation we (yes, I just scrape into calling myself a Millennial) spend less on material items and more on experiences. That we save for the future but don’t spend on the now. Part of this rolls into home ownership.
According to the most recent English Housing Survey (EHS) collated by the government, over the last decade the decline of home ownership among the Millennial Generation has been pronounced. This in turn leads to an increase in renting properties among this age group. In fact the 2016-17 EHS reports that a whopping 46% of people aged 25-34 live in privately rented accommodation, with only 37% of the same age group owning their home.
There are no particular reasons given for this, although some economists hypothesize that the locational freedom that renters are afforded lends itself to the focus on spending money on personal adventures and development rather than ‘things’. Certainly when life feels tough and tight around the edges I can understand the preference (and sometimes necessity) to rent.
So, if you are looking to rent, what do you need to be aware of? I can’t profess to be a seasoned expert but there are certainly some things that I would check out:
1. Travel links. Think about where you want to be. Do you drive? Do you rely upon a good bus route? Where is the property in relation to where you need to be. Your family, your friends, your college or work. If you do have a car, is there parking at the property? If not, can parking permits be applied for from the local council?
2. What’s the local area like? Are there plenty of amenities? A corner shop can make a big difference or perhaps you need to ensure that your preferred home delivery grocery service covers the property address. Check out the area at different times of the day too. The feel of the road or street can change significantly through a 24 hour period.
3. What are the connections like? If it’s important to you, is the property connected to high speed internet? Television services? This might also be a chance to check if the property is connected to a water meter. Check if you need to have your own TV licence.
4. Work out all the costs as far as possible. See if you can find out roughly what the extras are. Bills, council tax, what’s included (or excluded) from the rent. Your landlord should have insurance for the property (cheaper landlords’ insurance like this one is ideal) but you’ll still need to insure your contents from day one.
5. What are the terms of your lease? How long will it be for, and what is the contractual notice period for when the time comes for it to be ended?
6. Check what your responsibilities are. These change between a private landlord and a social housing landlord. The citizens advice bureau is a good place to start for advice.
7. What about individual options. Can you decorate for example? Does your landlord allow pets? Is there a garden and if so do you have a free rein to alter it to your preferences? If not think about whether you can adapt it with soft furnishings and pot plants to make it feel more homely to you.
8. Your landlord is responsible for making sure that the property meets certain safety requirements. This includes ensuring that the electrical system is safe and any gas equipment such as a gas fired boiler is fitted by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Ask to see the paperwork for this. Check for smoke detectors too!
9. Check that your deposit is secure. Under the tenancy deposit protection scheme your landlord needs to put your deposit into one of these schemes within 30 days of receiving it if you have an assured shorthold tenancy. Make sure that this happens and that your landlord is either recommended from a trusted friend or through an agency. If you don’t find them via either of those routes then for a small fee to the Land Registry at the very least ensure that the person you believe to be the landlord actually owns the property!
10. Finally, check, check and check your contract again. Take time to read through it and make sure that you are comfortable with all of the terms before signing anything. Make sure you know what sort of tenancy agreement you will have and, especially important if co-sharing with people you don’t know, whether you might be responsible for their actions or any damage they make to the property.
Do you rent? Are you a millennial? What would you add that should be checked before making a move?
N.B. This is a collaborative post. For more information please check my disclosure page.
If you enjoyed this post you might also like my tips for moving house post.
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