Offering to pay a landlord rent in advance for the whole of your tenancy when you move into a property doesn't make any financial sense. The cash you hand over could be tucked away somewhere earning you interest. If you're having trouble finding a landlord who's willing to rent to you, though, paying your rent up front could be the only way of getting a roof over your head.
Paying rent for the whole of a tenancy agreement up front can help overcome any concerns a potential landlord has over your credit profile. Many landlords will be wary of renting a property to you if you've had problems paying your bills in the past. Taking care of your rent before you move in will make your credit-worthiness largely irrelevant. Stumping up rent in advance could also be a good idea if you can't prove your income or have just returned to the country without a job.
Offering to pay your rent in advance will make it more likely that a potential landlord will accept your rental application. Furthermore, the time it takes to process your application could be reduced if your landlord decides it won't be necessary to run a credit check in light of your offer. If this is the case, you'll typically still have to provide references from previous landlords attesting to your good conduct as a tenant.
You might be able to negotiate a reduction in the security deposit you're asked to pay on moving into a rental property if you can pay your rent in advance. Although the security deposit you pay is primarily to cover any damage you cause to a landlord's property, it also serves as insurance that you'll pay your rent. This is why security deposits are almost always more than one month's rent. If there's no possibility of you falling behind with your payments, your landlord might be willing to lower your deposit.
There's a good chance you might find coming up with the money to pay for a one year tenancy in advance a bit of a struggle. If you're having trouble landing a rental property due to your credit score or for any other reason, try offering as large an advance payment as you can. If you can't run to a year, put down nine months' worth of monthly payments. Talk to any friends or relatives who might be willing to act as your guarantor if you just haven't got the resources to pay your rent up front.
Michael Roennevig has been a journalist since 2003. He has written on politics, the arts, travel and society for publications such as "The Big Issue" and "Which?" Roennevig holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the Surrey Institute and a postgraduate diploma from the National Council for the Training of Journalists at City College, Brighton.