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Budgeting money for rent

Before you move to your new rented home, work out a budget to make sure you have enough money to pay all your costs.

Your outgoings

List all the expenses you'll have when you rent a home. These are your outgoings.

Make sure you include:

  • rent
  • fuel bills
  • telephone and internet charges
  • mobile phone costs
  • council tax
  • TV licence and satellite or cable subscription
  • water bills

Try and work out how much you spend each month on:

  • food and household items
  • clothes
  • cigarettes and alcohol
  • going out
  • transport
  • credit card or loan repayments
  • other items (CDs, books, gifts etc)

As a guide, try writing down everything you spend this month and see how it adds up.

Your income

Income is the money you have coming in. This could be:

  • wages
  • benefits
  • loans and contributions, if any, from your family

Work out how much you have left when you take away your outgoings from your income.

If you don't have any money left over, look at how much you spend in each area and work out where you can cut down.

Your budget for renting

You will probably need to pay a tenancy deposit and rent in advance.

Calculate how much it costs to start renting

My rent is £

Please complete all fields

You will have to pay an estimated upfront

  • Letting agent fees
    National average fees in England, Shelter research
  • Rent in advance
    Your first month’s rent is paid upfront
  • Tenancy deposit
    6 weeks’ rent, or sometimes one month’s rent

Results are approximate and for guidance only.
Get advice on how to handle the upfront costs of renting

You may be able to get help to pay your deposit.

If you claim universal credit, you may be able to apply for a budgeting advance to help pay rent in advance.

You'll need to budget money to buy furniture and other essentials if you rent an unfurnished place.

If you pay a tenancy deposit check your deposit has been protected.

Apply for benefits, grants and loans

If you're unemployed or have a low income, you may be able to get a discount on your council tax.

You may also be able to claim benefits such as housing benefit, jobseeker's allowance, or employment and support allowance if you are ill or have a disability.

Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to apply for help from the council or for a budgeting loan to help you set up your new home.

Find out more about benefits from Gov.uk and find out if you can get your council tax reduced.

Use a budget calculator

Use an online budgeting calculator to help you work it all out:

Complain if you've been overcharged

There are rules about how much letting agents can charge you when they let to you.

Find out more about fees letting agents can charge and how to complain if you've been overcharged.

Use Shelter's letting agent dispute tool to complain to a letting agent redress scheme about your agent's poor practice.

Video: If you can't afford to next month's rent


Last updated 17 Aug 2015 | © Shelter

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