Seven easy ways to turn your rental property into a home to be proud of

EVERY Saturday, The Consumer Crew are here to solve your problems.

Mel Hunter will take on readers’ consumer issues, Amanda Cable will give you the best advice for buying your dream home, Maddy Tooke rounds up the best coupons to save you money and Judge Rinder will tackle your legal woes.

Jane Hamilton, property expert

 Jane Hamilton gives tips to tenants who want to jazz up their rental accommodation


Jane Hamilton gives tips to tenants who want to jazz up their rental accommodationCredit: Stewart Williams – The Sun

WE are no longer a nation of homeowners with official figures showing the number of people who own their pad plunging from 73 per cent of households in 2007 to just 60 per cent today.

If you’re young, it’s even tougher – just 38 per cent of under-35s are owners and more than a third of people that age do not expect to ever own a home.

 Even if you are renting, you can still make your property homely


Even if you are renting, you can still make your property homelyCredit: Getty Images – Getty

So while political parties from all sides are trying to woo “Generation Rent”, what does it take to turn a rented house into a home?

Whether you’re waiting to save your deposit or are happy to rent long-term, here are the top tips from room rental platform

REMOVABLE WALLPAPER: Most landlords won’t allow you to repaint, but removable wallpaper is a nifty new way to add your own touch. Rolls start from £12.99 on Amazon.

PLANTS: Cacti and snake plants require minimal attention but, if you can’t commit to regular watering, try a faux plant from Matalan.

 A cactus is low maintenance, and you don't even have to get a real one


A cactus is low maintenance, and you don’t even have to get a real oneCredit: Alamy

LIGHTING: From twinkly fairy lights to soft lamps, the right lights will transform your living space. Browse Instagram for a look you like and copy at a fraction on the High Street.

WALL HANGINGS: These are back in fashion for 2020. La Redoute and Etsy are a good sources for affordable options.

PICTURES: Some landlords will allow you to hang pictures if you repair the walls when you leave. If not, try a poster or wall art with Glu Dots wall stickers.

UPGRADE FURNITURE: Adding a couple of brightly coloured cushions or throws will disguise the landlord’s old furniture and add your own personality. Browse Home Bargains and Wilko.

Serena Williams shipped Pampers Nappies across the pond to Meghan Markle

Buy of the week

 The Consumer Crew buy of the week


The Consumer Crew buy of the week

BIRIMINGHAM’S Ladywood constituency has been revealed as the area with the highest growth in house prices since the last election.

This stunning one-bed apartment gets my vote.

It’s on the market for £179,950 at

Find your stop tap

DO YOU know where your stop tap is?

Insurance figures show burst pipes cause an average of £8,800 damage, so WaterSafe, the UK register of approved plumbers, is urging homeowners to find and label their internal stop tap ahead of the winter freeze.

The most common places are under the kitchen sink, under the stairs or in a downstairs loo.

For help see

Deal of the week


NO need to break the bank to buy this breakfast bar.

The whole solid pine set, including chairs, is just £99.99 at
SAVE: £50 on similar items elsewhere

Judge Rinder

 Judge Rinder helps a reader with a health issue


Judge Rinder helps a reader with a health issue

Q) I WORK for a pizza company and all the staff have been told that we cannot take holidays from now to December as it is a busy time.

We work on a zero-hours contract basis and accumulate holidays as we work.

The problem is there is also a rule where we have to use up all our holiday by the end of December as it can’t be carried over to next year.

I am owed at least a week of holiday but if they won’t let me take the time off I am afraid I will lose it. What can I do? Paul, London

 A pizza delivery driver is getting a tough deal


A pizza delivery driver is getting a tough dealCredit: Getty – Contributor

A) I am not a fan of zero-hours contracts – I think they’re utterly rotten.

However, in this case it appears you are in a good position either to insist that your employer grants you the holiday time you are owed prior to December or adds it on (without any penalty to you) in the new year.

Although this company do not guarantee your hours of work, they have made a clear legal promise about giving you paid leave.

They are not legally entitled to break that promise or to make it impossible for you take the holiday time you’re entitled to.

Write to your line manager and CC in the head of HR (in a reasonable tone) making clear that their refusal to permit holiday time before December is in breach of contract and unlawful.

You might be prepared for them to add this time on to your permitted leave after January but that’s entirely up to you.

No guarantee

Q) MY partner signed up as a guarantor on my daughter’s rent.

She has since stopped paying her housing benefit to her landlord and they are chasing my partner instead.

We can’t afford to cover her housing costs as well as our own.

She has more than two years left on the private tenancy – what can we do? Lisa, Stoke

A) I’m sorry to say that the law is not going to be much help to your partner in this situation.

As soon as your partner agreed to be a guarantor for your daughter, they were legally responsible for the entire rental contract if your daughter failed to pay up.

Because your daughter appears to be in over two months of arrears this landlord can and should apply for your daughter’s housing benefit to paid directly to him (as opposed to your daughter).

As your partner is only a guarantor (and not the tenant) there is little that your partner can do to force this but putting pressure on the council and the landlord will probably help.

I would urge your partner to write a very strongly worded letter to both and have your daughter sign it.

In the meantime, it is wise to maintain a decent relationship with the landlord and, if necessary, make clear that you will be unable to cover the rent.

Q) I RECEIVED a fixed penalty notice to which I had to reply within 28 days. I accepted and paid my money to the courts, well within the 28 days.

I received my licence back with my original letter of fixed penalty stating this matter had been processed.

Then I received a summons asking me to attend court for not replying to their first fixed penalty advice.

On checking my bank account I discovered the £100 fixed penalty sum had been returned to my account.

This seems to be an admin error but I am being summoned – what should I do? Jacqui, Kent

A) It appears to me that once you accepted the penalty that ought to have been sufficient for the court to stop any further proceedings, whether the cheque was received by the court or not.

If the cheque was returned, you should have been notified. You need to get in touch with the magistrates court that issued the summons ASAP.

They should be able to help.


  • Judge Rinder regrets he cannot answer questions personally. Answers intended as general guidance. They do not constitute legal advice and are not a substitute for obtaining independent legal advice.
  • Got a question for Judge Rinder? Email

Mel Hunter, Reader’s champion

 Mel Hunter advises on consumer issues


Mel Hunter advises on consumer issuesCredit: The Sun

Q) WHEN our washing machine broke I ordered a new one online, using credit with

I checked all the specifications and made sure the depth of the machine was no bigger than 54cm, as the cupboard that houses it was made around our old one.

A week later the machine arrived and was connected, but it didn’t fit. When I got my tape measure out, the depth was actually 59cm, including the door, so I couldn’t close the cupboard.

I disconnected it and called Very, and it was booked in for collection.

Two weeks later I was told that that had been cancelled because the unit had been installed and connected.

I pointed out to Very that it had only been connected for a minute and that I wouldn’t have ordered it at all if the size specifications were correct.

It has been passed to the escalation team and logged as a complaint, but I don’t know what I’ll do if it refuses to refund me.

With three children, I’ve had to go elsewhere to buy a new one, and certainly can’t afford two new washing machines. Sam, Dartford

 Washing machine problems gave one reader a real inconvenience


Washing machine problems gave one reader a real inconvenienceCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd

A) I got in touch with and initially it insisted that the measurements on its website were correct and that its policy is to not accept the return of items that have been installed.

It did though say that if you provided proof that was not the case, they would provide a full refund and an apology.

You duly got your tape measure out, and Very eventually relented, picking up the machine and promising to refund you and give you £75 as a goodwill gesture for all the inconvenience.

A spokesperson for Shop Direct, which operates, said: “We will review the description of this item on our website, working with the supplier.”

Q) WHEN my new settee was delivered, there was a black scuff mark on the right-hand corner of the arm.

My wife tried to reject it, but she was persuaded by the delivery men to keep it as otherwise we’d have nothing to sit on.

Less than a week later she noticed puckering and pleating on the seating.

I called ScS who sent a fitter out. He looked at the scuff mark, put some paint over it and dried it with a drier.

He puffed up the filling in the seating, which took half an hour, but then said there wasn’t enough padding.

We asked for our money back, but are still waiting, nearly two months on.

My daughter has exactly the same settee – and two children – but she hasn’t had any problem with hers at all Andy, Swansea

A) You reported the faults within the first month of ownership and as such, under the Consumer Rights Act, should have been entitled to a refund without quibble.

I contacted ScS for you, which acted quickly. A spokesperson said: “A full refund will be provided.”

Maddy Tooke, Coupon Queen

 Maddy Tooke shares her best high street deals


Maddy Tooke shares her best high street dealsCredit: John McLellan

My top five freebies this week

  • Sign up to TopCashback and get £15 cash back when you spend £10 or more on Black Friday. Sign up with the link Offer ends Dec 12.
  • Free Frozen 2 stickers for O2 customers from WHSmith. Show the O2 Priority app in store to claim. Ends Dec 1 or while stocks last. See
  • McDonald’s are giving away 500,000 printed copies of The Christmas Adventures Of Archie. Enter your details at to claim.
  •  Free Chanel sample box of Rouge Allure Ink matte liquid lip colour for Debenhams Beauty Club members. Show card at counter. See
  • Get a free CoppaFeel! shower sticker to remind you to check your breasts regularly and how to do it. Request one from


Top 10 deals

  • Get 40 per cent off Reebok orders with code BF40. Order through Quidco. com for up to 6.6 per cent cash back. Ends tomorrow. See
  • Save ten per cent on local deals, travel and goods from Groupon with code from Ends tomorrow.
  • Get ten per cent off Holland And Barrett orders over £40 or 15 per cent off orders over £65 with code EXTRA. Ends November 30. See
  • Save 25 per cent on own-brand jewellery at John Greed with code AFFVC-LOUD25. See
  • Get 20 per cent off selected gift cards from Asda. There is a £25 Nike card for £20, Buyagift £30 card for £24, Restaurant Card £20 gift for £16, New Look £25 for £20 or Dining Out Card £20 for £16. See
  • Boots 3for2 Christmas gifts are back. To save even more, combine with ten per cent off a £50 spend code. Add multiples of three gifts to your basket and use code FNF19 at checkout. Ends Wednesday. See
  • Save 30 per cent on Boux Avenue and get free delivery with code FREEDELBOUX. Ends Dec 1. See
  • Get 30 per cent off Hot Diamonds with code MSE30. It works on full-price items and outlet sale items. Code valid until November 30. See
  • Join the Pure Gym now for less. No joining fee and pay only £10 or £15, depending on location, for your first month. Use code JOIN10 or JOIN15 at Ends Nov 30.
  • Get 40 per cent of main meals at Coast to Coast restaurants with voucher from Ends Nov 30.
Our top eight apps to help you save money in 2019


Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.  Learn more