Money Insider: Tips to help students renting for first time

 

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The Independent Online

About one in eight tenants under the age of 25 believe that handing back their keys to the landlord is an acceptable way to terminate a tenancy, according to a survey.

It is this sort of misconception that has prompted the Nationwide Building Society to launch a free and independent tenants' guide.

There are other potential pitfalls that can end up causing financial hardship, particularly for ill-informed younger first-time renters.

For example, 12 per cent of young tenants think they can leave without giving notice, which could leave them vulnerable to the loss of their deposit and additional costs.

In the same age group, almost a quarter are unaware if personal possessions are insured by their landlord – 12 per cent of the 55 and over age group are also in the dark over personal possessions cover.

Only 40 per cent of tenants under the age of 25 are aware that they can shop around for a new energy supplier.

The tenants' guide from Nationwide delivers straightforward but often vital information both for those considering renting in the private sector for the first time and already established tenants. It delves into the process of renting a property and the responsibilities of tenants, landlords and agents, as well as explaining general jargons.

There are also practical tips on successful budgeting, what's expected of the various parties and how to avoid poor practice.

When asked for views on the best things about renting, flexibility and ease of movement, having affordable accommodation, the level of choice and the fact that landlords are responsible for, and pay for, repairs were voiced.

But, not surprisingly, the biggest problems included agents' fees, the lack of certainty of tenure, and being unable to put their stamp on a property.

The new guide won't eradicate these negative aspects of renting, but it does provide practical help which could end up saving you from making expensive mistakes.

More top value deals from the supermarket banks

It's been another busy week in the credit card and personal loans market, with a raft of new competitive deals being unveiled.

The recovering economic situation has certainly got consumers spending again, with credit card spending up by 5 per cent on 2013 figures, balance transfers by 12 per cent and personal loans by a massive 23 per cent.

These numbers are not surprising, with some of the lowest personal loan rates ever recorded hitting the shelves in the last couple of months.

As long as you've got a good credit record, this is a great opportunity to refinance your borrowing and reduce your monthly repayments.

The latest ultra-low loan rate comes from supermarket bank, Sainsbury's. It is currently offering a rate sale on its medium band loans (£7,500 to £15,000), meaning loans are now available from as low as 3.9 per cent APR for Nectar Card holders until 23 September.

In the credit card best buys, Sainsbury's and Tesco Bank both also pitched in with new 33-month 0 per cent balance transfer deals.

This put pressure on card giant Barclaycard, which as expected moved its term to 34 months to protect its commercial strategy to sit at the top of the best buys.

For a good all-round card, look at the Sainsbury's plastic offering a combined 18 months 0 per cent interest term for both purchases and balance transfers.

These low-cost personal finance deals won't be around for ever, particularly when the base rate awakens from its slumber, possibly as early as the first half of 2015.

Andrew Hagger is an independent personal finance analyst from www.moneycomms.co.uk

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