How Much Rent Should I Be Paying?

There isn’t a correct figure when it comes to how much rent you should be paying. But in the UK, basic housing expenses, including rent and utilities, should cost no more than 30% of your monthly income.

It would be a valuable endeavour to work out how much rent you should be paying or how much you can afford to pay based on your total income. This can reassure you that you are paying a reasonable sum but also help you work out if you will be able to pay your rent as well as your other expenses, such as bills, savings, food, and other monthly payments.

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How Much Rent Can I Afford?

It may be especially difficult for first-time renters to know how much rent they should be paying.

As a renter, you never want to financially strain yourself where you are paying too much rent and not leaving yourself enough money for other necessary expenses .

Of course, how much you want to spend on rent is ultimately up to you, but you should always make sure that you can comfortably afford your monthly expenses on top of this cost.

How much rent you pay should primarily be based on two factors: where you live and how much you earn.

How to Calculate Rent


According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), a person on a median income can expect to pay around 30% of their income on rent.

For example, if your monthly salary is £1,200 after tax, you should expect to pay around £420 to £540 in rent. If your monthly salary is £1,500 after tax, your rent should range around £525 to £675. If it’s £2,000 after tax, you’ll likely affordably be able to pay around £700 to £900.

Of course, these prices may be even lower depending on where you live and if you houseshare.

Where you live is the other major concern when it comes to how much rent you should be paying. For example, if you live in one of London’s central boroughs, you may be paying upwards of £1,500 in rent per month.

To get an estimate, follow the above calculation and work out what 30% of your income is to see the limit of how much you should be paying on rent per month. If you’re paying any more than this, you may struggle to cover your other expenses, such as food and utility bills.

How to Budget for Rental Costs

Typically, spending 30% of your income on rent should leave you enough money to cover your other monthly expenses. Nevertheless, you should still compile a list of your other expenses and create a budget to ensure financial stability.

First, you should create a monthly budget and include all of your expenses. This will include the following:

  • Food - what you spend on food shopping, eating out, or on takeaways

  • Travel - your total travel expenses (if you commute), such as on taxis, bus journeys, and train tickets

  • Social - how much you might spend when socialising, such as going out for drinks or a show

  • Subscriptions - whether you have any monthly bills or subscriptions like Spotify, Apple Music, or Amazon Prime

  • Household bills - council tax, content/building insurance, TV licence, broadband, and water and energy bills

Of course, if you are moving, you will need to adjust this calculation to take into account your new location. For example, bills, council tax, and transportation costs will likely be different in a new house. It would be worth asking the landlord if they have an idea of the average costs for bills in the area to help you determine whether you can afford to move.

Once you have a figure of how much cash you need to cover your expenses, you should have a good idea of how much you can afford to spend on rent each month.

Author Maggie Clarke
Maggie Clarke Content Ops Lead
Maggie leads the content operations team at She is an expert on personal finance, by way of a lifetime of gathering practical knowledge on what to not do with your pocketbook. When not blogging about money, Maggie can be found rambling through the roughest terrains. She considers herself charming yet troublesome and would love to meet you someday, just not today.
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