Moving In Tips
Take Meter Readings
It's easy to forget this, but take a meter reading for your gas and electricity when you move in. This way, you can pass this on to the suppliers to ensure you aren't charged for the previous occupants' usage. Remember you will be responsible for the utility bills from the start date of your tenancy agreement, even if you don’t physically move in or collect the keys.
If you have the cost of the bills included in your rent payment, the landlord will either keep the utility bills in their name and pay them on your behalf or request that the bills are put in the tenants’ names and the paper bills be passed to the landlord for payment.
Either way, it’s important that you keep track of how much fuel you are using. We recommend you take meter readings on a monthly basis. You may want to supply this information to the energy supplier and landlord, to ensure that the bills are not estimated. Energy providers usually over-estimate usage, so you could end up paying more than what you should. It is also important to check with the landlord/agent before the start of a tenancy whether there is a cap on utility bill usage, even if bills are fully inclusive.
Know Where the Stopcock is
Your mains water tap, or stopcock, is the off-switch for all the water in your home. Hopefully you'll never need to use it but if you don't know where it is and a pipe bursts, you'll be powerless to stop it flooding your home.
If you don't know where yours is, check NOW. It could be under the kitchen sink, by the boiler, in the airing cupboard or elsewhere in the property. If you don't know where it is, ask your landlord/agent to show you.
Check the Inventory
When you move into the property make an inventory/condition report of all the furniture and the condition of all the fixtures and fittings. The landlord/agent may provide a report/inventory to you. You should do this even if the landlord does not request an inventory.
We also recommend that you take dated photographs of any disrepair or damage, however minor you might consider it to be. We also advise that you sign the inventory and email or post this to the landlord/agent. This will mean that there is a written record of them being informed of the condition of the property at the very beginning of the tenancy.
Towards the end of the tenancy you should arrange for a property inspection with the landlord/agent or alternatively if this is not possible, complete another inventory/condition report and send this to the landlord again.
It's important to have contents insurance in place for when you move into your new property to ensure that your possessions are protected. Here's a handy guide which explains what contents insurance is, what it covers and what to look for when purchasing a policy.
Boiler and Appliance Manuals
Check to see if the landlord has provided manuals for the use of the boiler and other appliances as it’s important that you know how to use them correctly to prevent damage. If not, request them from the landlord or download them from the internet.
Check You Have the Right Bins
It's important to keep on top of household waste. Bins need to be put out at the right time and place, and stored away between collection days to ensure they don't get lost or stolen. Check which is your collection day.
More information about bins and recycling
If you rent, whether an entire property or a room in a shared property, you must be covered by a valid TV licence to watch or record television programmes as they're being shown on TV, whether that’s online, on a TV, or on any other device such as laptops, tablets or games consoles.
It is now also a requirement to have a TV licence if you also wish to download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer, although you do not require a licence if you only watch on demand or catch up programmes on services including All 4, Sky Go, ITV Hub, Netflix, Amazon & NowTV. If you are unsure on whether you need to be covered by a TV licence, please visit the TV Licence FAQ page.
If there’s a joint tenancy agreement for the whole house, you may only need one licence. However, you may need your own licence if your accommodation is self-contained – i.e. you have exclusive access to washing facilities or you have your own entrance to the property.
If you have an individual tenancy agreement for your room, you’ll need to be covered by a separate licence.
Usually you'll have to organise this yourself (or between yourselves if in a shared house). But speak to the landlord first, as they may already have a licence for the property.
Contact TV Licensing for more information http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk.
There is also a page specifically relating to students and TV Licences.
Fire Safety - Know Your Escape Route
Make sure you are prepared should an emergency arise:
- Plan an escape route and make sure everyone knows how to escape
- Make sure exits are kept clear
- The best route is the normal way in and out of your home
- Think of a second route in case the first one is blocked, take a few minutes to practice your escape plan
- Review your plan if the layout of your home changes
- Keep the door and window keys where everyone can find them, however, do not leave keys in door locks as this could attract burglars