Welcome to our 11 steps to moving-in guide!
Moving into a new home can be daunting as there are loads of important things you need to do, some of which you might not know or realise how important they can be, such as taking any photos of damage, mould etc. when you move in as evidence you aren’t responsible…you don’t want a bill for fixing something that wasn’t your fault!
We’ve created a guide full of everything you need to know when moving into a property based on questions we’ve been asked by our tenant customers.
So let’s get straight into it…
1. Who do I report any issues to?
You may have a letting agent, you might have a managing agent or you could have rented your property directly from a landlord. Here’s the difference:
Letting agent: This is an agent who advertises the property and organises the tenancy agreement between yourself and a landlord. Once each party has signed the tenancy agreement, their job is done! Your contact will most likely be with the landlord of the property directly.
Managing agent: A managing agent may also do the letting of the property, just like the letting agent above. However, they also look after the property on behalf of a landlord. They’ll organise repairs, general maintenance and help you in an emergency or if you get locked out! Your managing agent will be your point of contact once you’ve moved into the property.
Direct from a Landlord: If you’ve rented a property directly through a landlord or you’ve been introduced by the letting agent to the landlord once the tenancy agreement has been signed, your landlord will be your point of contact for anything that you need regarding the property.
There are pro’s and con’s of each type and many letting agents, managing agents and landlords are different.
If you take a One Utility Bill package you would always contact our dedicated customer service team with anything utilities related, for example, if your broadband isn’t working or you’re just not sure about a bill you’ve received.
2. Where are my electricity and gas meters?
The majority of U.K properties have an individual electricity meter for their property and around 60% have a gas meter, an electricity meter looks like this.
You’ll usually find this meter close to the front of the property near to the fuse box – it should be on the outside the property. Alternatively, if you live in a flat your meter may be in a meter cupboard in the communal area of your building.
If your property has a gas meter, it should look similar to these meters. You’ll usually find the gas meter under the stairs, under the kitchen sink or outside the front or the rear of the property. This is dependant on where the gas connection enters the property from the mains supply. If you’re struggling to locate your meters, your landlord or managing agent should know where the meter is.
3. Do I need to register with my current utility providers and council?
When you move in, your electricity, gas and water supplies should all be working. The energy is being supplied to your property by the energy provider that the previous tenants or your landlord have chosen. You are not in a contract with these providers and can switch to any provider of your choice. You must register your details with your chosen provider as soon as possible.
IMPORTANT: If our One Utility Bill team has called you during your move-in, this means that your letting agent uses our utility registration service; Notify. Your letting agent has asked us to inform the current energy providers on your behalf that you have moved in – so you don’t need to do a thing.
We’ll also offer you a bespoke One Utility Bill package that will bundle all of your utilities, plus media options such as Virgin Media and Sky TV, into one monthly payment. This payment can even be split between housemates so that you only have to pay your fair share!
Only tenants whose letting agents are our partner agents are offered a One Utility Bill package that is tailored to them. You can read about how much tenants love our service here.
4. Do I have a gas supply?
If you’re unsure if you have a gas supply to the property, you can check the following:
- Do you have an electric hob?
- Do you have storage heaters?
- Do you have wall mounted electric heaters?
- Do you have an electric water heater?
If you have any/all of the above, then it’s likely that you will not have a gas supply to the property – but check with your landlord/managing agent too.
5. I have a prepayment meter
Pre-payment meters are electricity or gas meters that are operated by adding a credit, usually in the form of a top-up key or card. You can tell these meters are they usually display a credit (or debt) on the screen and look like these examples.
You top up these meters at a PayPoint location, your nearest one can be found here. You pay in advance of the energy that you consume and if you run out of credit during the day, the meter will disconnect. If the meter runs out of credit during the night (10pm – 6am) the supply will work until the morning.
Paying for electricity or gas via a prepayment meter is traditionally more expensive, however, there are suppliers that will switch your prepayment meter to a credit meter or even a smart meter for free! One of these energy providers, who specialise in prepayment meters, is Utilita.
If you have a debt on the meter, shown by a negative balance, you should contact your utility provider straight away. They can reset this debt using a ‘reset code’ which usually takes 1 hour and can be obtained from a local PayPoint location.
Prepayment meters are usually installed in a property when a previous occupant has not paid the for the energy consumed at the property. However, it may also be the preference of your landlord who may prefer this method of payment for the energy consumed in a property.
We recommend contacting your provider to ask for a credit meter to be installed.
6. What are meter readings?
Meter readings are how your energy providers charge you for the correct amount of energy used in your property. Without these, they have to guess!
Your landlord/ managing agent should have taken meter readings with their inventory – however, you should have a record yourself. If you don’t take meter readings then you’ll be billed by your energy providers on estimated meter readings – sometimes this means you’ll be paying for energy that other tenants have used.
The easiest way to do this is to take a clear photo of each of your meters on your phone when you move into the property or when you send in your meter readings. Some utility companies, like One Utility Bill, prefer you to send in photos of your meters instead of submitting numbered meter readings as its much easier for the tenant.
7. When do I need to organise my broadband?
The fourth essential utility! It is important that you organise your broadband in advance if you’re moving into a new property. You’ll have a few choices around speed and provider, so we’ll help you with the right choice for you.
With the exception of some Virgin Media connections, most providers need at least 14 days to process your new connection order and book an installation date. It is something that most tenants forget about, and then end up hotspotting off their phone for the first few weeks.
If you take out a One Utility Bill package before you move in, we’ll recommend the most suitable broadband product for you and make sure to have your broadband connected as quickly as possible – we know it’s important to you.
8. Boiler safety checks and certificates
In rental properties, your landlord is required to conduct a gas safety check annually and be able to show the certificate to the tenants. This certificate is known as a CP12 – more can be found out about these certificates here.
We recommend asking for a copy of the CP12 to ensure that your property has had the relevant gas safety checks.
IMPORTANT: If you ever smell gas in your property, please call the gas emergency line on 0870 608 1524 and DO NOT switch on any ovens or hobs.
9. Help, my hot water isn’t working?
If your boiler, shower or other hot water appliance is not working then this could be that the gas supply has been switched off at the mains tap. The mains tap of the gas supply is usually found underneath your gas meter.
This is usual for properties that are vacant for any amount of time, as this stops gas leaks or gas hobs being left on unattended.
If the gas supply is switched to ‘on’ and the hot water is still not working, contact your landlord/managing agent.
IMPORTANT: You should also run your taps and showers for around 5 minutes when you first move into a new property. The water in the pipes may have been stagnating since the last tenant left. This stagnant water can carry bacteria and cause serious illness/infections such as legionnaires disease.
10. How can I get my post from my previous property?
When you move property often it’s a hassle to update everyone that sends you mail (banks, phone company, credit card statements etc..). However, you don’t know who is moving into your old property and who has access in between tenancies. There is the potential that your identity can be stolen from letters being sent to your old property.
One easy way to make sure this doesn’t happen is to use Royal Mails redirection service, where your post is separated at the sorting office and redirected to your new address.
The service will cost roughly £6 a month and you can have all of your post forwarded for a time period of your choosing.
11. My property isn’t in the condition I expected
Sometimes when you move into a property, little things may have been missed from your inventory. If there is anything in your property that doesn’t look right, make sure that you take a clear photo of the problem and get in touch with your managing agent/ landlord as soon as possible.
The longer you leave reporting any issues, the more likely that it will be that issue will be attributed to you.
One area to always check is the oven. Ovens are very time consuming and difficult to clean, so sometimes these can be missed and you could be charged for another tenants mess at the end of your tenancy.