The Ultimate Guide to Understanding and Managing Rent as a Student in the UK

 13th June 2024

The rental market is booming right now with a wide variety of properties on offer, but with the current cost of living, do you know:

  • What is the average rent in the UK?
  • How to calculate what you can afford per month?
  • What your weekly and monthly rent is?
  • and... If you are getting a good deal in your chosen area?

There is a lot to think about, perhaps more than you had first considered, but we have you covered and are here to answer all your pressing rental questions…


How Much is The Average Monthly Rent in the UK?

Before you embark on your search for a new home, gathering all the facts is essential to ensure you find the most affordable property within your budget. Recently, rental prices have been rising across the UK. As of early 2024, the average monthly rent in the UK is around £1,273. London remains the most expensive area, with average rents reaching £2,102 per month. Conversely, the North East remains the cheapest region, with average rents at £679 per month.

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of average rental costs in different regions:

  • England:  The average rent is £1,285 per month.

  • Wales:  The average rent is £727 per month.

  • Scotland:  The average rent is £947 per month.

  • Northern Ireland:  The average rent is £848 per month.

It’s also important to note that rents have increased by 7.5% compared to the previous year, reflecting a general upward trend in the rental market. Regional variations are significant, with some areas like the Northeast experiencing lower increases compared to regions like London, where rent inflation remains high.


The average monthly rent in the UK can vary significantly based on location, ranging from about £500 in cheaper regions to over £2,000 in more expensive areas like London. This range underscores the importance of considering geographic location when budgeting rental expenses.


Weekly Rent vs Monthly

Many agencies and marketing platforms, such as Zoopla and Rightmove, advertise rental properties with both per calendar month (PCM) and per week (PW) rates. This practice helps prospective renters easily calculate living costs according to their budgeting preferences.


To convert a monthly rent figure to a weekly rent, you can use the following calculation:

1. Take the monthly rent amount (e.g., £800).

2. Multiply this by 12 (months in a year).

3. Divide the result by 52 (weeks in a year).

£800 × 12 ÷ 52 ≈ £184.62

Using this method, a monthly rent of £800 converts to approximately £184.62 per week.

Nowadays, rent in the UK is typically paid monthly, but in some cases, weekly payments can be arranged to suit affordability needs. This flexibility can be beneficial for renters who manage their finances weekly.


How Do You Convert Your Rent Costs From Weekly To Monthly?

If you only have a weekly rental rate and want to convert this price to a monthly amount, you can use the simple calculation above but in reverse:

Take the weekly rent amount, multiply it by 52 (the number of weeks in a year), and then divide by 12 (the number of months in a year). For example, if your weekly rent is £184.61...

The calculation to convert from weekly to monthly would be as follows:

1. Take the weekly rent amount (e.g., £184.61).

2. Multiply this by 52 (weeks in a year).

3. Divide the result by 12 (months in a year).

£184.61 × 52 ÷ 12 ≈ £800

This gives your weekly rent of £184.61 an approximate monthly rent of £800. (okay, technically, £799.98).

This method helps standardise rent calculations, making comparing and budgeting rental costs easier over time.

This conversion is particularly useful when rental listings provide only weekly rates. It allows you to compare them with properties listed at monthly rates accurately. It also helps you budget and understand your monthly financial commitments more clearly.


How To Calculate Your Rent Per Day

If you need to break your rent calculations down to a daily rate, you have two methods to choose from:

1. Dividing by the Number of Days in the Month:
Take your monthly rent and divide it by the number of days in the month. For example, if your monthly rent is £800 and there are 30 days in that month, your daily rent would be approximately:

£800 ÷ 30 ≈ £26.67

2. Using the Annual Calculation Method:
Take your monthly rent, multiply it by 12 (the number of months in a year), and then divide by 365 (the number of days in a year). For example, if your monthly rent is £800, the calculation would be:

£800 × 12 ÷ 365 ≈ £26.30

Both methods yield similar results, with slight variations due to the number of days in each month. Typically, you would only need to calculate your daily rent if you are trying to stick to a tight budget and need a precise daily cost.

These calculations can help you manage your finances more accurately, ensuring you stay within your budget while accounting for your daily living expenses.


How To Calculate What Rent You Can Afford

As a student in the UK, managing your finances is essential to cover your living expenses while focusing on your studies. Here’s a guide on how to calculate what rent you can afford:

A common recommendation is to spend no more than 30% of your monthly income or budget on rent. For example, if your monthly budget from part-time work, student loans, or allowances is £1383, your ideal rent would be around £415. This helps ensure you have enough left over for other essentials like food, books, and transportation.

However, your specific situation might allow for some flexibility. For example:

  • Frugal Living:  You might save money by cooking at home, avoiding expensive outings, or shopping for second-hand items. This might allow you to allocate a bit more to rent if needed.

  • Additional Income:  If you have extra income from a part-time job or other sources, you could afford slightly higher rent.

  • Cost-Cutting Measures:  Living with housemates can significantly reduce your rent costs, allowing you to stay within budget while potentially enjoying better living conditions.


Considering Student Loans

In the UK, many students rely on maintenance loans to cover living costs. The amount you receive depends on factors such as household income, where you study, and whether you live at home, away from home, or in London. Granted, it's been a hot minute since I attended university; my maintenance loan was around £800 per month. It’s important to factor this loan into your budgeting.


Considering Part-Time Work

In addition to maintenance loans, many students work part-time to supplement their income. On average, a part-time student job in the UK pays around £7000 per year, translating to approximately £583 per month.

For example, if you receive a maintenance loan of £800 per month and earn £583 from a part-time job, your total monthly budget would be £1383. Following the 30% rule, your ideal rent would be around £415.


Adjusting Based on Personal Circumstances

If you aim to save money for future expenses or emergencies, you might target a lower percentage of your income for rent. For example, if you aim to spend only 20% of your £1383 budget on rent, you would look for a place costing around £277 per month. This approach frees up more money for savings and other priorities.


Tips for Managing Your Budget


  1. Create a Detailed Budget:  List all your income sources and expenses to understand your financial situation better.

  2. Prioritise Essentials:  Ensure you allocate enough for food, utilities, transportation, and other necessary expenses before considering higher rent.

  3. Seek Financial Advice: Many universities offer financial counselling services to help students manage their budgets effectively.

  4. Consider All Options:  Look into university accommodation, private rentals, and shared housing to find the best fit for your budget.


By carefully considering your income, expenses, and savings goals, you can determine the most suitable amount to spend on rent while enjoying your student life responsibly.


Does Rent Include Utility Bills?

When searching for a rental property, it’s important to consider whether utility bills are included in the monthly rent cost. Generally, most rental properties do not include utility bills unless you rent a room in someone’s house or are in student accommodation.

 Many properties offer student housing, such as those offered by DEU Estates in Leeds, with the option to include bills in the rent. This can simplify budgeting by covering utilities like electricity, gas, water, and internet in a single monthly payment, giving you more time to focus on what's important.


Tips for Managing Utility Bills

  1. Ask Questions:  Always clarify with the landlord or estate agent if bills are included in the rent.

  2. Budgeting:  If utilities are not included, research average costs for the area to help you budget accurately.

  3. Energy Efficiency:  Consider the property's energy efficiency to save on utility costs potentially.


Understanding whether utility bills are included can significantly impact your budgeting and living expenses - Always ensure this information is clear before finalising any rental agreement.


When Can Your Rent Be Increased?

When you sign a legal tenancy agreement, your rights, your landlord’s responsibilities, the length of the tenancy, what is expected of you, what you can and cannot do to a property, and how much your rent is should all be clearly detailed. You would usually sign a year’s tenancy, during which time the rent should stay the same.

In terms of rent increases, the UKGov Website states:

"For a periodic tenancy (rolling on a week-by-week or month-by-month basis) your landlord cannot normally increase the rent more than once a year without your agreement. For a fixed-term tenancy (running for a set period), your landlord can only increase the rent if you agree. If you do not agree, the rent can only be increased when the fixed term ends."

Your landlord should give you a month’s notice of any increases and, ideally, put this in writing.


Wrapping up

Renting doesn’t need to be complicated, and by breaking down some of the barriers and answering those burning questions, we hope we have helped you find your perfect property.

If you need any further help, do not hesitate to contact one of our experts today.

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