The deposit’s been paid, the keys are ready to pick up, and you’re about to move into your new home. Rented, obviously, because hello, house prices are insane. After my previous post on finding an affordable place to rent in London went down so well, I wanted to do a bit of a follow up post on what you need to do when you’ve found your new place.
I’ve had my fair share of experience with renting over the past eight years – but if you’re stepping out on your own for the first time, here are some of the essential things to think about before you move in!
Yep, getting the yawn-some stuff out of the way first. If you’re renting for the first time, you have the wonderful joys of paying bills to look forward to. OH HELLO ENVELOPE FLOATING DOWN FROM MY LETTERBOX! Yeah, that’ll be Thames Water again.
The ‘big three’ bills you’ll probably encounter are:
- Council Tax (check which band you’re in here, and the amount you’ll have to pay for that band with your local authority). As a rough idea – for a 1 bedroom flat in London, we pay £111 per month between two.
- Electricity & Gas – as soon as you move in, if you have meters, take a snap of them and send it to your chosen provider. As another guide – between the two of us, our bill’s around £30 per month – less in the summer, more in the winter.
- Water (there can sometimes also be a separate waste water payment, depending on where you are). We pay around £28 per month.
And you’ll also want to think about:
- Internet (obv. Make sure you organise this in advance so you get as little web-less time as possible when you move in)
- TV license (if you’re watching anything live or on BBC iPlayer)
Usually landlords will supply you with details of the service providers they use – but you don’t have to go with what they suggest, and I’d advise shopping around for a better deal.
Getting broken into and having your stuff stolen is, quite obviously, pants. Which is why contents insurance is super important, as chances are you won’t have the spare change to replace all the things that could get stolen. Your landlord is responsible for insuring the building itself, but contents is down to you. It can sometimes be a bit of a struggle to get through all the jargon of insurance, so check out HomeLet – they specialise in insurance for tenants (and landlords!).
A little note – if you’re in a shared block, check if your insurance covers communal areas. I once left a suitcase inside the (secured) hallway to my flats, and three minutes later, it had vanished. And – check the costs of adding personal items/handbag cover onto it too, so your stuff’s protected inside AND outside your home.
Essential household things
Most flats do tend to come at least part furnished, so that shouldn’t be too much of an issue for you. At the very least, you’ll at least have the kitchen mostly sorted with a fridge freezer, oven and washing machine. If you do need to pick up furniture for the rest of the place, definitely check out Freecycle. I managed to bag myself an almost-new Dwell sofa without paying a penny, and it’s legit the comfiest sofa I’ve ever parked my bum on.
The stuff you’ll have to bring in yourself are the smaller bits and pieces – plates, tea towels, all the super exciting things. Check first whether anything’s been left, as landlords sometimes provide some bits or the previous tenant may have left their hoover. See what you can pick up for free from willing relatives – their unused plates, unboxed toasters and goodwill might help you save a whole heap on buying new.
I’ve put together a handy lil checklist (don’t say I’m not good to you) here, of the ‘absolute essential’ and ‘good to have’ bits you’ll need to move in with. Feel free to download, print out, give to willing family members, etc etc.
Making your house a home
Alright, so, you can’t run around your slightly tired looking 1960s one-bed with a roller of pink paint and plans for a leopard print feature wall. But even with limitations, you can still make a rented house feel like a home with simple bits and pieces that don’t break the bank.
Throws and cushions: Can’t help yourself from wondering who’s bums have been on that slightly off-colour cream sofa? A brightly coloured throw and some squishy cushions are the easiest ways to make your living area a cosy space to curl up in.
Curtains (for more advanced level renters): Most rentals will probably come with curtains, but chances are they’ll be basic. When I moved into one of my London flats, the curtains were ridiculously thin, so I went out and found some thick, purple ones that instantly brightened up the room AND kept more warmth in.
Pictures: Most landlords might have an issue with you knocking holes for hooks into the walls, so velcro style hanging strips come in incredibly handy.
Bedsheets: Choose your duvet covers with care – they can transform a small bedroom really easily!
Plants: I love putting a few plants around the flat to brighten it up a bit and instantly lift my mood. As long as you’re better than me at remembering to water them regularly…
What are your top tips for moving into a new home?
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