I know you don’t want to hear it, but yes, we are coming to the end of term. For most of us, that means packing up, shipping off, and going home for a couple of months before the next adventure – whether that’s returning to Cardiff to continue your degree, starting a Masters or PhD, or going into the big wide world of work. Pretty much all of them are daunting in their own way; and the last thing you should have to be stressed about is leaving accommodation on top of that – so this is a quick one on things to bear in mind when you’re boxing up to go at the end of your tenancy.
Again, kind of the first step is making sure everyone does their bit. There’s nothing more frustrating than that one person who simply will not chip in. Plus, things can get quite heated if left unresolved!
Firstly, check your contract. Usually, tenants are required to leave their property in the state that they found it. If you took pictures when you moved into the property, have a look back at them to jog your memory. Remember to move your furniture back to how you found it, and to check with your landlord if you’re considering leaving any large items behind i.e. a clothes horse or that rubbish Argos hoover.
My advice would be to have an honest conversation with all the housemates, and allocate rooms for each to clean – naturally your own bedroom, and perhaps one common area each would balance it out. Oh, and don’t go halves on your bit, really do it well: It certainly won’t help the situation if someone has to go around and do your section again, or the lettings agents pick up on it and deduct money from your deposit for not being good enough at inspection.
This one is pretty specific to those of you in private rented accommodation rather than halls. Check your contract; if you are responsible for the utility bills and wifi contract in your property, please remember to call your providers and cancel the account registered to the house you’re living in after your last payment – but only if you’re not returning. Also remember to make a record of any meter readings when you leave! The last thing you want is your account debited when you’re not living there anymore – and although the companies might be willing to sort it out, it’s not worth the hassle, just cancel it in the first place, trust me.
As a somewhat unrelated sidenote, if you registered for a GP in Cardiff, and you are moving home, and/or moving to a new property in Cardiff, you may find that you no longer fall into your GP Surgery’s catchment area. Once you re-register for a GP your medical records will be transferred between surgeries without you having to do much in the interim, so don’t worry about making contact with your previous surgery or making a cancellation. While you’re away, you might want to consider what GP you will be moving to when you’re back and how to register.
Contact your Letting Agents
Most agencies will require some sort of walk through or inspection when you leave. While some will email you telling you so, others might not, so read through your contract and see what is expected. You may need to book an inspection, or give notice that you will be leaving your property by the end of the fixed term.
Discuss with your housemates when a good time to do the leaving inspection would be. If people are leaving at different times, try and gently make sure that everyone does their bit – it’s really not fair if the person who leaves first gets away without contributing to the deep clean or inspection worries just because they get out first.
Oh – and don’t forget, if you’re all leaving, you all need to return your keys!
Make a Schedule
Building on that last point, figure out where everyone’s at – particularly the dates everyone’s leaving. It can be a bit of a nightmare if all 6 housemates want to move out in the same hour on the same day. So, for sanity’s sake, communicate with each other and pick mutually agreeable times – it’ll just prevent it being a bit hectic.
On this note, some tenants – and their family members, or whoever is helping them move – might be Covid-anxious. By having a plan of who is moving out when, everyone involved may feel more at ease by limiting social contact, and keeping their distance.
Tips and Tricks
I found some really useful advice here, so I’ll summarise:
Basically, clean, cancel, repair. Clean the house. Cancel your billing accounts. Repair any damage you’ve done – whether that’s by just telling the landlord/letting agents, or DIYing it, just be careful with the latter. If you mess it up, you could find a hefty chunk taken from your deposit which really isn’t ideal.
There’s also some super useful pages here from the Student Advice Team on leaving accommodation – so do check those out too!
Of course, leaving accommodation, which is likely to be your comfort zone at the moment, might be a little bit daunting (so is going out into whatever step is next for you). So if you’re struggling, please do drop the Student Advice Team a message – I’ll pop the contact details at the bottom! If you’re looking for some useful support in the meantime, definitely check out these useful bits here for Looking after your Health & Wellbeing. You could also register with your local GP as a visitor if you need more urgent and professional support.
This blog has been written by Charlie Mallinson from the Student Advice Team in the Students’ Union. If you would like further help and support with the issues raised in this blog, or any aspect of your student experience, please get in touch using the following links:
Contact Student Advice
+44 (0)2920 781410