We found this on the Martin Lewis Money Saving Expert site and thought it was very useful for Landlords to read also. 


Renting rights – you dont need your landlords permission to save money

The number of people renting is rising, as are rents in this fiercely competitive market. Dont feel flat (sorry). Our new 50 Renting Tips helps, heres a starter:

1.

Renters have a right to switch and save on energy (even prepaid). If you pay the gas & electricity bill directly (not via landlord), you can and should compare and switch. Dont stick with the previous tenants supplier as often its costly. Always do a meter reading as soon as you move in.

Speedily find your cheapest tariff: The MSE Cheap Energy Club checks youre on the cheapest, and if not, compares across the market to find it (check the top picks tab for fixed deals which guarantee no price hikes). After, it monitors your tariff and lets you know when to switch again.

What if I dont know my usage? Cheap Energy Club can estimate for you.

What about prepaid? You can still switch supplier and save (see Cheapest Prepaid Energy). Yet switching from prepay to a normal meter sadly usually needs your landlords permission, as it physically changes the property.

  

2.

Beware joint bank accounts with flatmates. Shared bank accounts for bills can mean youre credit-linked – even if you hardly know each other. Then, when applying for products, their history can be taken into account. If its poor, it hits you.

If you used to have a joint account, but dont any longer, apply for a notice of disassociation. See How Credit Scoring Works for more.

  

3.

Is your deposit protected? A fifth of private renters dont know if their deposits been protected (source: Shelter), so check. By law, for most private renters who moved in after April 2007 in Eng & Wales, your landlord must use a Govt-backed deposit protection scheme – giving you rights. See Is Your Deposit Protected?

  

4.

Landlords must ask before entering. Landlords may need to come in occasionally for repairs and inspections, yet they should arrange a time with you. If they enter without asking, you can ask them to stop. If it continues, it can be considered harassment. Contact Citizens Advice or a solicitor for help, or the police if you feel threatened.

  

5.

Cheap contents insurance. If you rent, your landlord is responsible for buildings insurance, so you only need contents (essentially the stuff thatd fall if you turned your home upside down).

Only you / your family live in the home? To get cheapest cover combine comparison sites Confused.com* & Compare The Market* to bag the max quotes in min time, then Aviva* and Direct Line*, which they miss. Better still, try the full Cheap Home Insurance guide where some get PAID for cover.

If you live in a houseshare. Getting cover from mainstream insurers can be tricky (a locked room helps, so ask for one). Confused.com*, Gocompare* & MoneySupermarket* say they provide flatshare quotes, but double-check the policy allows it – comparison sites are very flaky on this. You may find a specialist such as Home Protect* or a local broker via BIBA easier.

  

6.

Furnish for FREE – sofas, beds, TVs & more. If youve gone unfurnished or part-furnished, then online giveaway sites can help you for nowt. Hundreds of top-quality goodies are available daily for free from web communities – somes tat, but somes treasure. See Furnish for Free tips.

  

7.

Dont redecorate without the landlords permission. You generally need to return property in the state you got it (minor wear and tears allowable). So get the landlords permission in writing to put up shelves or repaint, unless you want to have to undecorate before you leave.

Beware putting pictures up. Dont get hammer-happy – it destroys walls and deposits. Forumites recommend specially-designed picture strips to hold up pics without using damaging nails. See full Rental Decorating help.

  

8.

Letting fees can be perverse and nasty, check. Renters can be hit by huge and unfair fees. Some reported to us include £120 for permission to buy a dog or £60 for photocopying a contract.

Sadly theres little regulation over these charges – but at least make sure you know what they are so you avoid them. There are growing campaigns for stronger rights. For more (limited) options, see Beware Unfair Fees.

  

9.

Does every renter need their own TV licence? In shared homes, this usually depends on the tenancy agreement. Joint tenants can usually share, but if youve your own tenancy you need your own licence. For exact rules (incl lodgers), see TV Licence help.

  

10.

Are you eligible for help? If youre on a low income and struggling to pay rent, check if youre eligible for housing benefit/grants. See Extra Cash Help.