A guide to moving in and out of properties

Whether you are moving in or out of a property, there will be things you can do beforehand to make it is as stress-free as possible. So read on and get clued up!

Moving out

Cleaning

Moving in

On the day

Security - reducing the risks

Change of address details

Getting on with your Neighbours

Complaints

Moving out

Feeling Stressed about moving home already? As long as you find out what you need to do it can be really simple and pain free. So read this guide and pick up a copy of our deposit leaflet, available from any of our branches, including many of the support service outlets at your institution and Students’ Union. If you are renting from your university, college or a larger owner, they may have provided a tenants’ handbook when you moved in or information on what you need to do when you move out. This is likely to include a list of charges you may incur if you have damaged anything. If in doubt, ask now.

Cleaning - Oh No!

If you are renting a shared property you are all jointly responsible for its condition when you move out, although the degree of joint liability can vary depending on the type of tenancy agreement you’ve signed. As a rule of thumb communal areas will almost always be the responsibility of everyone. Remember all the landlord/agent wants is a property returned in an acceptably clean condition to hand over to the new tenants moving in.

Read on and keep the marigolds nearby.

  • Work out in advance how you will clean the property and divide up the tasks for the communal areas. That is the kitchen, bathroom, lounge, corridors, stairs and any outside space and cellar area.
  • It is a good idea to talk to your mates now and try to agree a day to get together to clean up, as everyone starts disappearing after exams.
  • Use the checklist to keep you on track.

If you are renting a shared property you are all jointly responsible for its condition at the end of your tenancy. Generally, cleaning the kitchen and bathroom is 50% of the task of cleaning the whole property, so just cleaning your own room is not contributing your fair share.

Bathroom
Not cleaning the toilet or the bathroom suite can cost £50 - £100. This is the time it can take for professional cleaners to clean the area properly.

Oven and grill
It can take a lot of cleaning to do this properly. This again could take two visits for cleaning fluid to be left overnight and can cost in excess of £95.00.

Top tips for moving out

  1. Why not ask your landlord/ agent to do an inspection to point out anything you need to do to return the house in an acceptable condition?
  2. Taking a stand and not cleaning the house because no one else is will not be an acceptable reasonfor your landlord! You will all end up losing some of your deposits.

Utility bills - closing your accounts

The landlord/agent may retain your deposit until you provide written proof showing that all the bills have been paid. This may include an exemption letter for your Council Tax bills. This stipulation, if applicable, should be set out in your contract.

A few weeks before you move out, contact the utility companies and let them know the final date of your tenancy. Read the meters on the final day and inform the company to close your account and get the final bill sent on to your forwarding address. Keep a record of the meter readings. As soon as you have paid the final bills, make sure you send proof to the landlord/agent.

Moving in

Before you arrive

  • Make sure you have contact details for your landlord and arrange a collection time for your keys. Top Tip: if there is a burglar alarm, make sure the landlord gives you the code so you can use it straightaway.
  • Get contact details for your housemates, if you don’t already have them.
  • Make sure you have a copy of the tenancy agreement for reference purposes
  • Think about the bank account you will be using to pay your rent: it is important that rent payments are made on time. You will be charged if the payment doesn’t go through.
  • It is worthwhile considering if you will really need your car in Leeds. You could save money by leaving your car at home and transport links are very good.
  • Find out how parking works outside your house. Will you require a permit? How many spaces are available? Decide between your housemates which of you will bring cars. If you need permits, try and organise them before you move in to avoid receiving hefty fines at the beginning of the year. To apply for a permit you will need to fill in an application form from the relevant local council and send proof of residency plus a valid certificate of motor insurance for your vehicle. A signed tenancy agreement will be accepted as proof of residence, so you can apply as soon as you receive this from your landlord.
  • Try to organise a visitor’s permit before you move in, so that parents don’t receive a parking ticket when they are helping you and your housemates move in. If you do receive a ticket while your application for a permit is being processed, you can appeal.

On the day

When you get your keys and can finally move into your house, it’s probably a few months since you last saw it and it might be different to how you remember it. Be careful when you are moving in your belongings. Don’t leave the car or house open and unattended as this is a prime time for opportunist thieves to steal your valuables!

Once you're inside your property, check it thoroughly and consider how it compares with when you saw it at the time of signing the contract. Take photos of the property (including any wear and tear damage) so that you have proof of its condition as you take over the occupancy. Inform the owner straightaway of anything you are concerned about.

Check off the fixtures and fittings against the inventory (if available) and if anything is missing or damaged, make a note of it, take a photo and once again contact the landlord. If things are damaged, dirty or missing when you move in, take photos and write a list of repairs in priority order and how you would like the issue resolving. Write to the landlord with this list, giving them a reasonable time in which to respond. If you do not report things at this point, you may find yourself paying for it out of your deposit at the end of the year. Equally with your own possessions, you may want to identify them by marking them with your postcode.

All properties should have a Periodic Electrical Safety Certificate and a Gas Safety Certificate. If you haven’t already done so, ask your landlord to let you see these. Make a note of the renewal dates so that you are aware of whether they will need renewing during your tenancy.

Cleanliness

Was the house clean when you arrived? If it wasn't, inform the owner in writing.

Escape

If there was a fire in the main access passageways of the house, could you get out?

Repairs

Do any repairs need doing? If so, inform the owner in writing.

Decoration AND Furniture

Does any decorating need doing? If so, find out who is going to do it and who is responsible for paying for it. Most owners don’t allow tenants to decorate, so don’t start putting up shelves or hammering nails into the wall without seeking their permission. Some landlords may not allow blue tack on the walls, so check this as well. If you require more cupboard space or new furniture in your room, ask your landlord if they can provide some. TOP TIP: if you bring furniture in to the house and wish to remove the landlord's, check that they are OK with you storing it somewhere else - and get this in writing

Utilities - setting up your accounts

Take meter readings of your gas, electricity and water meters immediately. Register with the relevant utility companies and, if possible, register everyone in the house, so that no one has to take individual responsibility. If you don’t jointly register and some one moves out, it will be extremely difficult for you to get their share of the bills.

Who supplies my energy?

Transco (Who supplies my gas?) 0870 608 1524
Meter Point Administration Service (Who supplies my electricity?)  0870 608 1524

Can you find the stop taps for water, gas and electricity? Ask your accommodation provider.

Security - Reducing the risks

Security can be a problem in student areas. However, there are a number of ways you can reduce the risks.

  • If a burglar alarm is fitted to your property, make sure you find out how to activate it and switch it on whenever the property is empty
  • Always lock exterior doors when coming in and out of properties and only leave windows unlocked if you are in the same room
  • Even when in the house, keep exterior doors locked to prevent intruders entering your property
  • Be wary of people calling at your door unexpectedly. Ask for ID from visitors claiming to require access to your home for a specific reason
  • Ensure your car is parked safely and is always locked. Don’t leave valuables in it!
  • If you own a bike, ensure it is locked up securely
  • Take out insurance for your belongings if they are not already covered under your parents’ home insurance policy. Do your research and make sure you fully understand the policy. (For example, some policies may only insure valuables left in your room.)

By following the simple steps above, you’ll ensure your personal safety and minimise the chances of becoming a victim of crime.

Bike Marking

Unfortunately cycle theft, especially on campus, is a fairly common crime. If you have your bike marked, police will be able to track your bike and get it back to you, if it has been stolen and subsequently recovered.

Change of Address Details

There are some people you may need to inform of your change of address. You may want to consider:

  • university/college, when you re-register at the start of term
  • your bank / building society
  • your car insurance providers
  • utility companies

Getting on with the neighbours

Remember you are part of a community - take some pride in it. There are many things you can do to live in the community successfully. When you arrive, introduce yourselves to your immediate neighbours and find out what they’re like. If they’ve got young children who may be disturbed by noise, be sensitive to this. Tell your neighbours about any parties and keep the noise down after 11pm, if you have friends round. If you’re coming home late at night don’t talk loudly outside or bang car doors. Chances are that if you are considerate, your neighbours will be less likely to complain and more likely to look after your house while you’re away. This helps to improve the general security of the area.

Complaints?

If your landlord isn't accredited, you still have what's called a Right of Redress. This is an independent complaints process - for more info click here.