Moving house is a big deal. Whether you have lived in rental properties before or are a first-time tenant, it’s important to understand the moving process so you can best prepare for every stage. So, you’ve passed the referencing checks and have been given a move-in date; what happens next?
#1 Declutter your current home
If you’re moving from a property with many belongings, it’s a good idea to start the packing process four weeks in advance, to avoid last-minute panic. This gives you the chance to go through all your belongings and decide what to bring, and what to let go.
It might seem like a big task if you have a lot of items to organise – that’s why it’s important to at least begin a month in advance. Start by breaking it down room by room, listing what you want to pack, and what you no longer need. If you live with others, you can split the tasks between you. Take trips to your local charity shop to dispose of any belongings in good condition that need a new home.
#2 Book time off work to move house
If you’re in full-time employment, you may need to book time off work to move. It’s wise to do this at least four weeks before your move-in date so you know it’s confirmed and employers can prepare for your absence.
If you’re self-employed, you should still plan ahead. This could include putting aside some money for your move, so you can afford to take time off, or telling your clients the dates you will be unavailable.
#3 Book your removal hire
At four weeks pre-move-in, you should organise your removal van hire, giving you the peace of mind that everything will be safely delivered to your new home on your move-in date.
If you’re moving everything yourself or getting help from family and friends, it’s best to organise that in advance too. Agree times people are expected to arrive, figuring in journey duration to the new place, and how long it’ll take to remove everything from your old rental.
Find removal van services near you.
#4 Arrange your utilities before moving
Two weeks before moving home, you should research arrange household utilities, such as gas, electricity, and water for your new address.
Setting up these utilities should be straightforward. At the start of your tenancy, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to specify which energy supplier to use as services are already connected. This includes electricity, gas and water.
However, you can transfer all services to your name by calling current utility providers for the property. They will guide you through the process and ask you to take meter readings. It’s then up to you whether to continue with current suppliers or switch to another company. If you decide to change supplier, it’s advisable to reread your tenancy agreement as your landlord may specify a preferred supplier. You will still be able to switch, but you should notify your landlord. If there’s no mention of preferred suppliers in your contract, you can proceed without informing them.
What if you’re moving from a rental property and already have utilities set up? In that case, you can let your electricity, gas, phone and broadband suppliers know that you’re moving out, as you can potentially transfer your contract to your new address. Let your suppliers know sooner rather than later, as this moving service can take up to two weeks.
Want to cut down your water usage and save money on water bills? Check out our 5 Water Saving Tips For Landlords And Tenants.
#5 Sort your WiFi
In the UK, having broadband installed typically takes up to 14 working days. So, it’s better to sign up two weeks in advance to ensure it’s ready to use when you move in. There are many broadband companies in the UK, so it’s worth doing some research to compare prices, contract length, and average internet speed.
Compare The Market is an example of a comparison site you can use to compare prices on all utilities, not just broadband. Just enter your postcode to see all available suppliers in your area, along with estimated monthly and annual costs.
Once you’ve chosen a supplier, you can sign up online or give them a call. If you leave it too late, you may end up paying extra charges for your mobile data until your WiFi is sorted.
#6 Apply for parking
If you’re moving to a residents-only parking area, it’s a good idea to apply for a parking permit two weeks before you move.
To apply for a parking permit, you’ll need to contact your local authority. Or, if it’s a private residential parking scheme, you can apply directly. You should receive your new permit within three to five days of applying, but it’s safer to allow more time.
With your permit application, you must include proof of residence, such as your driving licence or electricity bill, and proof of vehicle ownership, like your vehicle registration document. If you apply online, documentation should be uploaded with your application. This could be scanned images or photos of your documents.
Photocopies are acceptable for postal applications. However, if you are applying in person, you must provide original documentation. If you can’t provide all the required proof, your local authority may issue a temporary six-week permit.
#7 Redirect your post
It’s important to redirect your mail when you move. This way, you’ll be reassured that any important letters will arrive at your new address. You’ll also reduce the chance of fraud, as your mail won’t fall into the wrong hands, with the potential for scammers to access personal details in your letters.
To ensure your letters and packages make it to your new address, there are many services you can use. The Royal Mail Redirection service redirects your mail to any UK address for 3, 6 or 12 months from £33.99. They also offer a concession rate of 20% for customers on Job Seekers’ Allowance or Pension Credit. Just provide names and birth dates for everyone in the household needing their mail redirected, plus your old and new address.
#8 Thoroughly clean your current property
Cleaning your property is a time-consuming but essential part of the moving process, so it’s best to start one week before move-in so that you’re not leaving it until the last minute. Plus, the best time to clean the property is when the items you’re moving have already been packed.
You can break it down by spending time in each room, noting the areas that need a good clean. If you live with others, you can divide the tasks amongst yourselves or divvy up the rooms.
You may not have time to clean yourself, but you can hire a professional end-of-tenancy cleaner who will ensure your property is left in the cleanest condition.
If you’re moving from a rental, your landlord or letting agent will expect you to clean the property to the standard it was at when you moved in, excusing any general wear and tear.
Whether you decide to hire a professional cleaner or do this yourself, you should refer to your inventory to check the property condition when your tenancy began. This will allow you to focus on cleaning your mess, rather than any damage that was already there when you moved in.
Related article: Taking Your End Of Tenancy Cleaning Seriously
#9 Update your address and personal details
You should contact the following people and organisations to let them know you’re changing your address at least one week in advance.
- Your work
- Your bank, insurance, pension, and credit card companies
- The council and electoral roll
- TV Licensing
- Doctor and dentist
- National Insurance / DSS offices
Your residence is an essential factor for proving your identity, and forgetting to update this information might put you at risk of identity theft.
#10 Take photos of your old rental property
If you’re moving from another rental, you should take plenty of photos of this property before you leave it for good. It is advisable to do this one week before moving.
After cleaning the place thoroughly, it should be easier to spot any signs of damage and wear and tear. If you do find damage you may have caused during your tenancy, do your best to make those repairs yourself. This could include filling nail holes in the walls, fixing damage to the floors, and so on. Finally, take photos and videos of the newly repaired areas, as proof that you’re leaving the rental as you found it.
This step is crucial as your landlord may want to withhold some of your deposit to cover significant damage or uncleanliness that was not there when you moved in. Your photos will provide proof of the property condition, and your landlord should give you back your deposit.
#11 Complete your packing
Allow two days before moving to make sure you packed up absolutely everything you plan on taking to your new home. Make sure all your packaged boxes have labels on them, so you know where everything is.
If you’re hiring a removal van, confirm the exact date, time and location with your moving company and provide them with any directions they might need.
#12 Take final meter readings from your old rental
Don’t forget to take final meter readings for gas and electricity in the property you’re moving from. In most properties, you’ll be able to find these meters in the kitchen, hallway or outside in a cupboard or meter box.
Contact your service provider, let them know you’re moving, and give them your final meter readings. This will ensure that your last bill is as accurate as possible. If your move-in date falls on a weekend, you can contact providers the next working day. Be sure to do this, as you’ll be responsible for all charges at your old address until we’ve been notified.
#13 Set up direct debits or standing orders
A few days before moving, you should arrange direct debits and standing orders. Contact the organisation you wish to pay, such as your electricity provider. They’ll arrange for you to complete a Direct Debit Instruction. This can be done by post, phone or online. To complete the Direct Debit Instruction, they will ask for your name and address, bank, account number and sort code, and the name(s) on your bank account. From there, the organisation will update its payment records and forward the Instruction to your bank. They’ll then collect the specified amounts on the agreed dates.
With most banks and building societies, you can set up a standing order online or over the phone. All you’ll need is the account number and sort code of the person you’re paying. You can cancel a standing order at any time or change the amount or payment date.
#14 Collect keys
Usually, your letting agent or landlord will contact you a few days before your move-in date to arrange a suitable time to collect your keys. You’ll likely collect them from one of their branches from the first day of your tenancy.
Once collected, you’re free to move in!
#15 Check inventory and take photos
Your landlord should have provided you with an inventory when you collected your keys. The inventory includes details of the state of the property at the beginning of a tenancy. It also includes information on the furniture, fixtures, fittings and general wear and tear. It is important to check this as soon as you’ve moved in, ensuring every issue you’ve spotted, no matter how minor, is featured on the inventory. If you notice damage that’s not in the inventory, take a photo of it and report it to your landlord or letting agent immediately.
Your landlord will expect you to uphold the condition of the space they are renting to you. That’s why it’s essential to take pictures as soon as you move in, to ensure that there are no problems during your lease or once it has ended. Take photos of every room, even if you don’t spot any issues. If you cannot get suitable proof of the damage in the rental property with a photo, you can take a video instead. Your landlord may withhold some of your deposit if there is unreported damage not mentioned in the inventory, as they will assume you caused that damage. That’s why taking photos is highly important.
#16 Check your deposit prescribed information
Prescribed information is a specific set of information relating to a tenancy, which landlords are legally obliged to provide to their tenants within 30 days of receiving the tenancy deposit. The information includes:
- The amount of the deposit
- The address of the property
- The name, address and contact details of the administrator of the tenancy deposit scheme with which the deposit is held
- The name, address and contact details of the landlord and tenants
Landlords could be fined three times the deposit amount if they fail to provide prescribed information. Therefore, it’s essential they or your letting agent provide this information to you.
#17 Read the How to Rent guide
From 1 October 2015, it became a legal requirement that landlords in England issue all new tenants with the latest edition of a government publication, the How to Rent Guide.
The guide includes a checklist and detailed information on each stage of the rental process, including:
- What to look out for before renting
- Living in a rented home
- What happens at the end of a tenancy
- What to do if things go wrong
Before you move in, thoroughly read the guide to understand the terms and conditions of your tenancy.
#18 Check all property certificates and take meter readings
Energy Performance Certificates are usually attached by the letting agent as a copy on the website property listing. The grades rank from ‘A’ (the best) to ‘G (the worst) and confirm how energy efficient the property is. Currently, properties must have a valid EPC rating of ‘E’ or above to be legally let.
An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) is an inspection of an existing electrical installation’s condition to identify any deficiencies against the national safety standard for electrical installations. Tests are also carried out on wiring and fixed electrical equipment to ensure the safety of the tenant.
A Gas Safety Check involves a certified Gas Safe Registered Heating Engineer assessing the property appliances’ safety and verifying that the system is working correctly.
At the beginning of your tenancy, your landlord should have provided you with copies of the property’s Energy Performance Certificate, Electrical Installation Condition Report, and Gas Safety Certificate. You should have received these along with your inventory on the day of check-in. If you haven’t received them, contact your letting agent or landlord to request a copy.
You should also take an accurate meter reading at the start of your tenancy. This means you will only pay for the gas and electricity you use after starting the tenancy. Once you’ve located the meter reading, simply contact the provider and give them the details.
#19 Redirect services and subscriptions
Suppose you’re subscribed to products or companies such as Hello Fresh or Amazon. Make sure you update the address on your account, so subscriptions are redirected to your new address.
If you’ve signed up for any at-home services, such as a regular cleaning service, you should advise them that you’ve moved, providing your new address if you wish to retain their services.
#20 Put your own stamp on it
Now for the fun part. Time to make your new rental a home. Once you’ve unpacked all of your belongings, you’ll start to feel more settled. From there, you make it your own – put pictures up, add lighting, buy some plants, and jazz it up a bit. Always get permission from your landlord if you’re planning on making any significant changes.
Have we missed anything?
Are there any extra steps you take when moving house? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.