Hands up if you’re a tenant? Hands up if you own a smartphone? Then you’re in the right place! Because we’ve put together a definitive list of the best low-cost apps available for those either looking for a new place to rent, or who have already started renting.
Rating: Free version 4/5; Paid version 5/5
This app was really designed with only tenants in mind. Whether you are looking for a room or looking for a flatmate to fill a room, find what you need here. The search has useful filters such as: pet-friendly? and smoker/non-smoker? so it’s easy to find something (or someone!) that fits your criteria. Plus it’s completely free to put up a standard ad. If you’re searching for a flat and want to contact an ad that is less than 7 days old, or if you’re a landlord and want your ad to be placed higher in the listings you can upgrade for £10.99 for 7 days.
Crime Map England and Wales
If you’ve found a great place to rent but want to know more about the area’s crime rates before you sign on the dotted line, check this app out. Pop in your postcode and use the colour-coded location pins to see what type of crime has taken place in the area. It covers 11 types of crime: vehicle crime to thefts to anti-social behaviour. It’s updated two months after the offences were committed, and covers all the records in the past three years.
iPhone Compass and Level
Rating: 5/5 if you own an iPhone; 0/5 if you don’t
Find it: On your iPhone
This doesn’t even involve a download, as it’s a pre-loaded Apple iOS feature. If you’re viewing potential digs and want to ensure you have a south-facing garden or sun through your bedroom windows in the morning, your iPhone compass is your new best friend. Similarly, if you’ve moved in and are installing a few shelves and the like – with your landlord’s consent obviously! – then the leveller is very handy. Hint: the sun rises in the east and sets in the west! (But of course you knew that).
Splitwise is the best way to share bills and keep-track of IOUs. We’ve tried this with our own flatmates and found it does everything you’d hope, though the app is quite new and not the most user-friendly yet. However if you make sure you’re diligent about recording all expenditures, it will track everything fairly and can even send friendly reminders to those in debt. Note: if one of your flatmates doesn’t have a smartphone (heaven forbid!), they can’t access it and therefore the splitting system will not be so effective.
Our developer Chris describes Gumtree as: “A modern day version of putting an ad in the back of the local newspaper.” You can use it to sell your unwanted stuff free of charge, or if you pay a small fee (from £2.25 for 3 days) you can make it a Featured Ad. When it comes to buying, admittedly there is a fair amount of random junk on there. Yet with a little patience you can find some real gems for your home at bargain prices. For bits and bobs like a new bedside table (we saw a beautiful solid oak one for just £50) or a funky vintage lamp you never knew you wanted, Gumtree is the place to go.
Just because you’re renting, doesn’t mean you can’t make your place feel like home. Pinterest will get your creative juices flowing, with a treasure-trove of images to inspire colour schemes, home-made gadgets, crafts and more. Those who are old-school and still collect scrapbooks will easily be converted. You can create as many virtual pin-boards as you like and add any posts you see to them.
Find it: Online at www.rentalstep.co
Okay, so we’re shamelessly self-promoting here, but we do make your life a thousand times easier as a tenant. When you’ve found your perfect pad, the admin can be a huge burden. Not anymore. With us, it’s a seamless and inexpensive process. Our service enables you to:
- Be fully referenced by your previous landlord, your employer and credit expert Experian
- Document your new tenancy agreement (uploaded to the portal by your new landlord) and sign it electronically
- Boost your credit score each time your landlord verifies that you’re paying your rent on time
- Log any maintenance issues on the online system so that your landlord can be alerted to them, pronto.
All that from one cost-free, user-friendly site! Renting will never be the same again.