Moving in Checklist

 

Before you get the keys, you should check these things:

1. Check whether the landlord/agent registered with Rent Smart Wales

Action:

Go to www.rentsmart.gov.wales/ and check your landlord/agent is registered with the Council. If the landlord/agent is not registered, contact Rent Smart Wales.

Why:

It’s the law and you will have less protection if they are not.

2. Check whether your deposit has been protected

Action:

Look on your tenancy agreement, or contact your landlord/agent and ask which Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme they have used. Contact that TDP Scheme and check they have your money.

Why:

To make sure everything is above board and you know where to recover your deposit from when the time comes.

 

 

So you’ve just set foot inside your new rented student house. Now what?!

3. Take photos

Action:

Before you move any possessions in, take pictures of EVERYTHING. Focus on the flaws – anything which is broken, or imperfect, like marks on the walls, scuffs on the sofa, damage to furniture, or dirty seals around the kitchen or bathroom. Try and get the photos as high resolution as possible. When you’re done email the photographs to the landlord/agent as proof of how the house looked when you arrived.

Why:

Lots of landlords/agents will try to take money from your deposit at the end of the tenancy by arguing that you have mistreated the house. You’re not obligated to return the property in any better condition than you originally found it in, but lots of students struggle to prove what the house looked like they when moved in.

Every year Cardiff University students lose thousands of pounds from their deposits through ‘cleaning costs’ and other deductions – costs they say are unfair, but have difficulty fighting.

4. Check that everything is working

Action:

Make a list of all appliances that aren’t working and report them to the landlord/agent straight away. Check fridges, washing machines, microwaves, dishwashers and the boiler. Email the details of any broken appliances so you have a record of reporting them.

You’re in charge of lightbulbs – have some spare ones when moving in. Energy saving ones are more expensive, but save you money and polar bears in the long run.

Why:

Same as above.

5. Take your time with the inventory

Action:

Most landlords/agents will supply an inventory – a paper list of everything in the house noting the condition of it. If they do not, you should create your own and hand it in.

Do not be rushed in completing/signing the inventory. This is an important document that will be used as evidence in future deposit disputes.

Make sure you note the TRUE condition of the house and report ALL imperfections. If any part of the house is dirty or unclean – make sure this is noted clearly on the inventory.

Why:

Same as above

6. Record the electricity and gas metre readings as soon as you arrive.

Action:

Find the electricity metre and take a photograph of the number on there as soon as you can. If you have gas, do the same. Record this on the inventory and provide to the utility companies when you sort that stuff out…

Why:

Because you shouldn’t be paying for what the tenants before you used. If you’ve paid half summer rent and are moving in in September it is likely however that you will have to pay what was consumed over the summer to keep the house ticking over – but this shouldn’t be too much.

7. Check the fire and carbon monoxide alarms are working

Action:

Press the button on the fire and carbon monoxide alarms to check they work. If the fire alarm is not working contact the landlord/agent straight away as this is a series breach of fire safety regulation. If you do not have a carbon monoxide alarm you should consider getting one sooner rather than later.

Why:

So you don’t die.

8. Make sure all windows and doors lock

Action:

Test all windows and doors to make sure they lock from the inside and can’t be easily broken from the outside. Contact the police community liaison officer for Cathays if you have any questions as to whether the property is secure. Report any issues to the agent/landlord straight away.

Why:

There are a lot of burglaries in the student areas of Cardiff. Plus everyone likes feeling secure in their own house.

9. Put all important house documents in a folder

Action:

Put your Gas Safety certificate, EPC certificate, tenancy agreement and all letters about the house in one neat folder. You are entitled to a copy the Gas Safety and Energy Performance Rating certificates from the landlord/agent.

Why:

It is a good idea to keep all these things safe and one day you will be grateful you did.

10. Switch to a cheaper utility provider

Action:

Find out who currently supplies your electricity and gas. This might be obvious from the pile of letters on the door mat, or you might have to contact the organisations below to confirm.

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/consumers/household-gas-and-electricity-guide/connections-and-moving-home/who-my-gas-or-electricity-supplier

http://www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/internet/en/help-and-advice/who-is-my-supplier/

Your water will always be supplied by Welsh Water and you won’t be able to switch.

For all other services it may be worth checking whether there is a cheaper provider. Use price comparison websites and have a good look around. Don’t pick the first one that pops up, or as the best free toy!

Try and have as many tenants names added to the bills as possible. The tenant who appears on the bill will be the one the company chase for any unpaid bills – so share the liability.

Price comparison websites:

https://www.uswitch.com

https://www.confused.com

https://www.moneysupermarket.com

https://www.comparethemarket.com/utilities/

https://www.moneysupermarket.com

You will need to do the same for your internet provider – we suggest doing this in plenty of time and some companies take a while to install your lines etc.

Why:

To save you some serious money.  

11. Get a TV licence

Action:

Go to http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/ and buy a TV licence.

Why:

You need it even to watch recorded programmes or Iplayer online now. Failing to do this is breaking the law and by the time you’ve shared the cost it’s not really worth it.

12.  Find out what bins go out and when

Action:

Go to https://www.cardiff.gov.uk/ENG/resident/Rubbish-and-recycling to check collection dates for your area, locations of your nearest recycling centres, details on how to order new liners and much more.

Why:

To avoid living like “Stig of the Dump” it’s a good practice to put out bins for collection every week, a pile of bin bags may look harmless on the surface but the new family of maggots underneath is not what you want in your stylish new house! Also be aware that most tenancy contracts state that all rubbish must be removed from the property before you leave, so don’t leave it too late.

13. Register everyone in the house to vote

Action:

Visit https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote and follow through the registration process.

Why:

Because it’s the law. And your credit rating will improve (you might care about that one day). And you might be asked to do jury service… which is pretty cool. And you’ll be able to… vote!

14. Get a copy of your council tax exemption certificate

Action:

Go to sims.cf.ac.uk and follow the link saying request council tax exemption form.

Why:

The council will not assume you are a student, if you can’t prove to them you are eligible for council tax exemption you will be charged for this, and late submissions of exemption forms can result in penalties

15. Consider getting contents insurance

Action:

Look back to number 8 on this list for examples of comparison websites, these will help show the best prices for you in your area.

Why:

No one wants to come home to a house with less in than when you left it. Burglary is not common for the majority of students, but unfortunately it is still a possibility. However burglary is not the only way property is lost or damaged. Water damage, drunk and clumsy housemates also exist, so maybe take a moment to evaluate how much your possessions mean to you.

16. Change your registered address with the University and your bank and re-direct any other post from your previous address.

Action:

Go to sims.cf.ac.uk and in the section titled Personal and Contact Details, click “Update Address, Phone number or Home Email”, follow the instructions for your new property details.

Why:

You’ll want to make sure any important documentation from the University, your bank etc is being sent to the correct house.

17.  Apply for a parking permit

Action:

Visit https://www.cardiff.gov.uk/ENG/resident/Parking-roads-and-travel/Parking-permits, here you will be able to apply for a permit for your vehicle, and look at what options are available for multiple permits and details for blue badge holders.

Why:

To legally park on your street without receiving a fine you’ll need a parking permit, these last the whole year and extra ones can be applied for at a lesser price. Visitor permits are also available for visiting friends and family.

18. Register with a GP surgery and find your nearest hospital

Action:

https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/new-students/when-you-arrive/registering-with-a-gp has details and links for registering with a GP, dentist, and details on the organ donation scheme in Wales. If you registered with a GP in your first year this may not be essential, as long as they’re still within a reasonable travelling distance for you.

http://www.cardiffandvaleuhb.wales.nhs.uk/directory/hospitals/ then has a list of hospitals for all range of medical requirements from major A&E at the University Hospital of Wales to psychiatric wards and minor injuries units.

Why:

We hope that during your time at University you are never in need of medical attention, especially not A&E, however being prepared for these situations is always wise, and knowing how to get medical help when needed can help you and others to remain calm in difficult situations. Also remembering that prescriptions are free in Wales might save you money!

19. Get to know your housemates

Action:

Sort out your own unpacking, move in, but don’t be afraid to help your housemates move in too, and be friendly to any friends or family with them when they arrive. Organise a night out together, arrange a house takeaway and movie night, have a couple of games of bowling and mini-golf, the options are endless.

Why:

First impressions matter. You may think you already know these people, but you never truly know someone until you’ve lived with them!  Learning more about your housemates early on will help the rest of the year run as smoothly as possible