10 reasons why it's great to be a renter in the UK in 2020.
Renting may not always get the best press but there’s plenty going for it. Here are 10 very good reasons you should look forward to renting a room or home, no matter what stage of life you’re at.
1. You’re never short of friends
When you’re new in town – whether you’re a student, recent graduate or moving across the country for a job – renting a room in a shared house gives you a ready-made social circle.
That means less pizza for one in front of Love Island after a tough day at work - and more pizzas for four in front of Love Island after a tough day at work.
You might not get along perfectly with everyone – the person who consistently finishes the milk without replacing it will be found and, rightfully, forced to explain themselves at an awkward house meeting – but the intense bonding experience of living together can turn strangers into lifelong friends.
2. Not to mention the friends-of-friends
Suddenly you’ve got a whole new pool of dating possibilities and your housemates’ insider knowledge on who’s single and who’s got weird habits you should know about before committing.
On top of that, with all these people to call on your house parties will go with a bang. Don’t forget to invite/warn the neighbours.
3. You get to share the load
After death and taxes, paying bills is one of the few certainties in life. One moment your bank account is looking vaguely healthy, the next you’re rushing it into intensive care as the gas, electricity, water, council tax and internet bills all come out at once.
Splitting the cost of the essential utilities (and the pain of organising them) with housemates brings big savings which you can carefully invest in an ISA. Or splurge on a night out. Up to you.
Food shopping together is also a great way to keep costs down. To start, find the biggest cupboard in the kitchen and bulk buy enough pasta to fill it.
4. And test your romance
Moving in with a boyfriend or girlfriend is a huge test of how compatible you actually are.
Sharing responsibility for those bills, along with cooking, cleaning and not leaving your sweaty sports kit to fester in a corner, can really knock the passion out of a relationship.
You might discover your partner is less house trained than a disobedient puppy, and you might not find that very appealing. Or you might find they eat crisps in a way that drives you up the wall.
We’re sure that won’t be the case for you and your beloved (you’re made for each other). But it’s better to discover any deal-breaking issues while renting, rather than after you’ve got a mortgage together.
5. You can try before you buy
The best way to get to know an area is to live in it. If you’re new to town, renting gives you the option to explore all its nooks and crannies so you can be totally sure where you want to live in the long term.
Perhaps you want to be no further than 10 metres from a good flat white, within stumbling distance of your favourite pub, or a child’s scooter ride from the school you want them to go to.
Whatever your priority is, when it comes to buying you’ve narrowed down your search area.
6. And keep on changing
In a big city you could spend a decade or two moving every couple of years and still not exhaust all its possibilities.
Admittedly, the idea of packing up all your stuff that often might bring you out in a hot stress sweat, especially if it involves deconstructing and reconstructing intricate items of flat pack furniture (really hope you kept that Allen key).
But for those with itchy feet the chance to regularly decamp to a different area, meet new people and experience different cultures is the stuff of life.
And if the adventurous urge really takes you, renting gives you the flexibility to take a year off and travel the globe.
7. Someone else has to fix the boiler
What is it with boilers? Why do they always decide to break down when you most need them? The moment a Siberian wind sweeps in and you’ve got the flu, they blow.
Luckily if you’re renting you won’t have to add the cost of repairing it, or the hassle of sorting it out, to your to do list. That’s your landlord’s job. The same goes for misfiring white goods, inexplicable leaks and all the other troublesome bits of maintaining a property.
8. You can keep the heat in
Since April 2019 rented homes must have an energy performance certificate rating of at least an E (ratings run from A to G). That means the Siberian wind we mentioned above shouldn’t be gusting through your front room.
You’ll also be shelling out less for your energy, especially if your home has one of the top two ratings. The average annual saving between a G rated home and an E rated equivalent is around £1,150.
9. You can make the most of your current home
Just because you own a home doesn’t mean you can’t rent one too. If you’re rattling around a large family pad since all the kids have flown the nest (or if you need to move for your new job), why not rent somewhere smaller and let your place out?
Not only could you make a little profit, you’ll still be on the property ladder and can move back in if you need the space because your offspring have returned, this time with grandchildren.
10. Or why not let go entirely of home-owning stress?
On the other hand, you could sell up, rent a small, low-maintenance apartment and turn the rest of your life into one long holiday.
And if you really want a carefree older age you can downsize your home and your responsibilities by renting in a community designed for retired people...
Wait, come back!
Forget outdated visions of dubiously patterned carpets and tea-stained doilies. Today, these communities give you the best of all worlds – your own home, someone to call when something breaks (do you really want to do DIY into your dotage?), communal activities (think exercise classes rather than bingo) and extra support should you need it.
Most importantly, back to point one, you’ll have a bunch of friends on the doorstep.
You may also be interested in...
- Furnished or unfurnished? How to decide
- Your guide to rental costs
- Cheap and cheerful ways to make your rental feel like home