24 ways to save money on rent
Living away from home is one of the best parts of uni, but it comes at a price (literally!). Ease the burden by checking out our top tips to save money on rent.
Rent represents by far the biggest expenditure for students. In fact, our National Student Money Survey found that it accounts for over 50% of a student’s monthly spending.
As there are sadly no voucher codes or deals when it comes to housing, rent can be a particularly tricky area to save money on. But, don’t lose faith – we’ve used our money-saving expertise to come up with a whole host of tips for renters looking to find an affordable property.
How to save money on rent
These are the best ways to cut the cost of renting a property:
1. Live with multiple housemates
When you’re living with other people, your rent doesn’t just cover your use of a room – it accounts for the fact that you’ll be using the bathroom and kitchen, as well as any other shared living spaces.
So, it only makes sense that when you live with more people (and more people are sharing those facilities), your share of the rent goes down. As a result, three-bed properties are usually cheaper per person than two beds.
And living with more people won’t just save you money on rent. Some bills, including your broadband internet and streaming subscriptions, will cost the same no matter how many of you live there – so the more people using it, the cheaper it’ll be per person.
2. Make a note of flaws when looking at houses
When you’re viewing the property, keep an eye out for anything that might be wrong with it. Serious issues (electrical issues, structural damage, dampness, etc.) are big red flags telling you to live elsewhere, but more minor faults can actually be used to your advantage.
Say there are some stains on the carpet or a dent in one of the doors. Realistically you could probably live with those flaws and come to forget that they’re even there, but there are plenty of houses out there that won’t have any such issues.
Let the landlord or estate agent know that you’ve noticed these issues, and when it comes to sealing the deal, explain that this is why you’ve submitted an offer below the asking price.
3. Reduce your rent during the summer
If you and your flatmates are intending to go back home during the summer, it’s worth seeing if you can do something to reduce your rent during this time.
Some (but sadly not all) landlords will agree to let you pay half rent during the summer months, which is certainly nothing to turn your nose up at. They’re unlikely to propose this themselves, so you’ll have to be the one who brings it up – but hey, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
Alternatively, you could ask for a reduced tenancy length. Landlords are usually keen to have 12-month contracts (particularly in student areas, as they’ll want to align the lettings to uni term times), but it can actually benefit them to let you end your tenancy in May or June.
4. Ask for a break clause in your tenancy agreement
When the UK was dragged into the first coronavirus-enforced lockdown in March 2020, students up and down the country made their way back to their family homes.
Realizing that they were unlikely to return before their tenancy expired, many asked their landlord for a rent discount or to cancel their contract early. However, in a lot of cases, students had no legal backing for this claim – they just had to hope that their landlord would be sympathetic to their situation.
That’s because many student tenancy agreements don’t have break clauses in them. A break clause allows you (or the landlord) to end the contract before it officially ends – often after six months, with a notice period of a month or two.
5. Offer to fix minor faults in a rental property
We suggested earlier how you could use imperfections in the property to ask for a discount. But if there are some scuff marks on the wall, or a curtain rail is coming loose, you could also ask your landlord to let you sort it out yourself in exchange for a reduction in rent.
A small pot of paint or some screws should easily cost you less than a tenner, and as long as you manage to knock at least £1 a month off the rent (and we hope you’d negotiate a lot more than that…), you’ll be saving money in no time!
Just make sure that you’ll actually be able to fix whatever the problem is, especially without making it worse. Otherwise, this money-saving exercise could become very expensive, very quickly.
6. Rent an unfurnished or part-furnished property
It might seem like a given that a furnished property will save you money as you won’t have to splash out on beds, sofas, wardrobes, and the like.
But if you’re smart about it, you could furnish the majority of your house for almost nothing at all. And as unfurnished or part-furnished properties are almost always cheaper than a furnished equivalent, this could equal some serious savings.
Depending on how often you plan to go home, and whether or not you have access to a decent-sized car (or, better yet, a van), you could take your own bed and wardrobe with you. If this isn’t feasible, worry not – you can still get your furnishings for almost nothing.
Websites like Freecycle, Freegle, and Gumtree are great for finding free furniture, and we’re not exaggerating when we say that you could fill your whole house just with findings from these treasure troves.