Welcome to Generation Rent. If you are thinking of getting your own place then most likely your first home will be a rented one. But is renting really the dead money social status burden that our peers, usually older and already comfortably homed, tell us?
There are positives to renting. Whilst for a lot of people the ultimate aim is to one day own a house outright, renting is not as bad as made out. In fact, depending on your circumstances it may actually be a better decision to make.
Money, money, money
The entry requirements for getting your own home via renting is much easier. You're only going to need to get 5 weeks rent to put a deposit together. If you were buying a house, you’d be looking at tens of thousands of pounds AND you are going to have to be subject to rigorous credit checks. That phone bill you "forgot" to pay 5 years ago could come back to haunt you.
You can rent out a house with friends to share the costs. This is particularly useful if you are a student or a young working adult who doesn’t have deep-pocketed parents. Shared housing will generate some of the best times of your life (and conversely some tales of the worst housemates of your life!).
Location, location, location
You can choose the area you live in better which may be good for your commute, lots of new builds are miles away from the nearest town. This can be good for schools for your children, being near the nightlife or if you just want to live in a more desirable area.
If the house turns out to be a dud, built over an Indian burial ground or you find out your neighbours are running an all-night drugs den next door then it is going to be so much easier to move on. Most tenancy agreements are 6 to 12 months long. You can move when you need to and don’t need to go through a protracted sale of property and the inherent danger of being in a house sale chain delaying you even further.
Buying a house is a 25-35 year financial commitment and can become like an anchor tying you down. You may find the equity in your home decreases. Even worse, you’ll be the sort of person who worries about things like the equity in your house decreasing and becomes concerned when the news reports that house prices have dropped some sort of percentage.
Money troubles could mean you lose everything. As an example, if you get into debt with a credit card company, they can get a charging order against your property. Debt collectors will be much more aggressive in chasing a debt if you own property.
You break it, they fix it
We wouldn't recommend you smash down the front door or kick the radiators off the walls as you are unlikely to get any sympathy from your landlord, but you won't be out of pocket if the boiler breaks down or the electric stops working. If it breaks down then your landlord is obligated to fix it. Same with any white goods that are included with the rental, broken locks, a dodgy shower or anything that is part of the house. You won’t have any unexpected large payments to make in regards to your living conditions.
Renting is getting better protections
Finally, a pain point of renting has been the unscrupulous and downright dodgy landlords out there causing uncertainty for the future. But even this is getting better. Renting protections have improved massively in recent years, Scotland has already abolished no-fault evictions and banned tenancy fees. In England tenancy fees are also banned and no-fault evictions are soon to be a thing of the past.
Renting is much more socially acceptable now and legislation is moving in the right direction to give Generation Rent the stability that homeowners already enjoy. Happy renting!