There are lots of things to organise when you move into a rental property aside from a removal van. To help you get your head round the things you need to sort out and the information your landlord should provide you with, we've compiled a checklist.
We've all heard stories of landlords running off with a tenant's deposit. Now it's law that landlords place your deposit in a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme within 30 days of receiving it. They should tell you where it's been placed and send you a certificate as proof. When you leave the property, if there's a dispute between you and the landlord, your deposit will be kept in the scheme until you reach agreement.
An inventory lists items, such as furnishings and electrical goods, in a rental property and the condition it's in when you move in. It's wise to ensure you have one as it can be used as evidence if there's any dispute over your deposit. If your landlord doesn't organise one, you can use Shelter's Housemate iPhone app or inventory template to put one together.
Gas safety certificate
Worried about the safety of the gas appliances in the place you're renting? Before you move in your landlord must give you the latest gas safety certificate for the property. Each year they need to arrange for a Gas Safe registered engineer to check all gas appliances and flues and issue a gas safety certificate. For extra safety you may want to ask for a carbon monoxide alarm to be installed. It's required if there's a solid fuel burning appliance such as a log burner or open fire.
Hopefully your landlord's not furnishing the place you're renting with old, saggy sofas in the living room and stained, lumpy mattresses in the bedrooms. You should check whether any flammable items like these have a fire safety label to show they meet fire safety regulations. If not, you should ask the landlord to replace them.
The property should by law have a fire alarm on every floor. You should test it's working when you move in and on a regular basis thereafter.
To ensure you don't miss paying your rent on time, you can set up a direct debit. This way you'll never be late with your payments.
Some lettings agents and landlords now share your rental payment history with credit reference agencies, so if you're late with payments it could affect your credit score. If they're going to do this, there will be a clause about it in your tenancy agreement.
You need a TV licence if you watch or record programmes being shown live on TV or online. You may have one from your previous rental property you can change over to your new address or you can apply for one at http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk.
When you move to somewhere new, you need to let your local council know so they can work out the amount of Council Tax you need to pay. The amount you'll pay will depend on the Council Tax band of the property and the local authority.
If you want to protect your possessions against accidental damage, fire or theft, you need contents insurance. The cost of cover will depend on the value of the belongings you have in the rental property. You won't need buildings insurance as this will be organised by your landlord.
Registering to vote
It's important you register to vote at your new address as credit reference agencies take your address details from the electoral roll. When you apply for credit, lenders verify your address against the one displayed on your file. If your address isn't up-to-date it could make it more difficult for you to get credit.
When you move in, it's important you locate where the gas and electricity meters are. You'll need to give the meter readings to your energy supplier so you're only charged for what you use. Don't rely on the estimates they provide.
Mail redirection and address updates
To ensure your post doesn't go astray, it's a good idea to pay for your mail to redirected by Royal Mail. This will help to protect you against identity theft and ensure you receive any bills you need to pay. As soon as you can, you should also notify all your contacts, such as your bank and DVLA for your driving licence.
Stopcock and fuse box
The stopcock and fuse box are the two things you need to know the location of. It can be very stressful if you find yourself in a situation where a pipe bursts and you don't know how to turn off the water or a fuse blows and the lights go off.
Emergency contact details
If something goes wrong, you need to know who to call. This will either be the landlord or a company managing the property on behalf of the landlord.