Once you’ve found a house in the private sector and you’re ready to move in, there are a few crucial steps you should take before you can truly relax.
Complete your inventory
This document is used to record the state of everything in the property (from the walls in each individual room to the sofa cushions to the shower curtain). Existing damage should be noted on the inventory; if it isn’t the charge for it could be deducted from your deposit when you leave.
Take meter readings
You should be told where your gas, electricity and water meters are when you sign your contract or move in; if you haven’t, give your agent or landlord a ring.
Order your internet
Depending on who you go with, broadband can take as long as three weeks to arrive and be installed, so you want to minimise the amount of time you spend waiting for Internet. Plan in advance and book an installation date for the day the first person moves in, or maybe the day after.
Organise your bills
Many contracts have a clause that says you are not allowed to change your bills provider without permission, so make sure you check for this first if you want to shop around for the best prices on bills. Once you know you have permission to switch, it’s easy to change providers – they do all the work for you.
Note the difference between fixed rate and variable rate tariffs:
Fixed rate tariffs mean that you will pay the same unit rate for your energy for the duration of the contract. This doesn’t mean that your bill won’t fluctuate throughout the year. It just means that the charge per kilowatt hour stays the same.
Variable tariffs mean that suppliers will offer a low price to start with but then this could (and probably will) be increased later on based on the energy market. So, if you use exactly the same amount of energy at the start of your tenancy in July as you do at the end of your tenancy in June, you are likely to pay more for the final month’s bill (June) than the first month’s bill (July).
Figure out if you need a TV license
It may seem like an expense that you don’t want to pay, but if you intend to watch live TV or catch up on BBC iPlayer, you will need a TV license. You’ll get letters about this from TV Licensing and they are very aware of the student population around the University, so if you don’t need one let them know online and the letters will stop!
Have a whole house meeting
This is probably an awkward thing to do when you first move in, but before you start celebrating the new academic year, try to find time to sit down together and have a meeting with all your housemates in one room.
In that meeting you can discuss all the above things, and make sure that everybody knows what’s expected around keeping the house clean, putting out the rubbish, emptying the dishwasher, and safety and security.
If you just talk to people about it, then you will all know what to do if somebody starts getting lazy and not pulling their weight – otherwise issues could continue, and you may fall out over them when all that was needed was a simple chat.
Now that you’re all settled in, you can start enjoying your new home and everything the local community has to offer!