Moving in to a new home
There are several things you need to do as soon as possible once you've moved into a new home, whether it's a rented property or a place you've bought yourself. If you're moving into a property which you're renting from a landlord or agent, check out our renting subsite for advice on organising your move.
Arrange your move
If you are moving a short distance and don't have many possessions, then you'll probably be able to move everything yourself, perhaps with the aid of a few friends and a rented van.
However, if you have a lot of belongings or are not physically fit enough to carry a sofa up four flights of stairs, you may want to consider getting in the professionals.
Think safety first
Make sure you know where the trip switches, water and gas mains valves are, as you may need to turn them off in an emergency. If you can't find them, ask the estate agent or landlord to show you where they are.
Check that all the windows and doors lock securely. If you moving into rented property and want to fit extra locks or a security chain on the door, speak to your landlord first. They may do this for you if you ask.
Check that the property has enough smoke and CO2 alarms, that there's a fire blanket in the kitchen and that all gas and electrical appliances are safe. You should also work out how you would get out in an emergency.
If you are moving into an HMO (rented occupation such as a flat or bedsit that has more than two unrelated people living there) your landlord has to provide certain safety arrangements.
If you are renting, make sure you know how to contact your landlord in an emergency.
You need your own insurance cover for your personal belongings. Talk to your housing association or the Housing Executive if you want to find out more about insurance. There are some schemes which provide affordable cover for social tenants. If you own the property, you will need buildings insurance as well. This will be a condition of your mortgage.
Register with the electricity and/or gas companies
You must remember to register with the electricity and/or gas companies that supply the property as soon as you move in. Otherwise, if the person who lived in the property before you did not pay their final bill, you may be expected to pay what they owe. All you need to do is ring the supplier(s) on your first day, tell them that you have moved in and give them the number on the meter.
Get the telephone connected in your name
You'll also need to register the phone in your name, to avoid paying the previous tenant's bills. If the phone has been cut off, you may have to pay a connection charge to have it reconnected.
Register for rates
Don't think that if you conveniently forget to let the Land & Propety Services know where you're living, you won't have to pay rates. They'll catch up with you eventually, and you could end up with a huge bill.
Register to vote
To ensure you are able to vote in elections, you'll need to update your details on the electoral register. Contact the Electoral Commission to update your details.
Give people your new details
Make sure everybody has your new address and telephone number so they can contact you. Don't forget to tell:
- friends and family
- your bank or building society and credit card supplier
- your employer
- your school, university or college
- the relevant agencies for any benefits you are claiming, for example if you're claiming jobseeker's allowance you'll need to contact the Social Security Agency, or if you're claiming pension credit you'll need to contact the Pensions Service
- the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Northern Ireland (DVLNI), to change the address on your driving licence
- any other companies with whom you have a contract or who send you regular information, for example, your mobile phone supplier.
To save time, register at I Am Moving. This website has a large database of utilities suppliers, store cards, government offices and other companies, and can notify them of your change of address for you, free of charge. For a small fee, you can also arrange to have your post redirected.
Register with a doctor and dentist
If you've moved into a new area, you'll probably need to register with a new doctor or dentist. Use the Yellow Pages to find surgeries in your area, or ask around for recommendations. You can also call NHS 24 on 08454 24 24 24 for details of your nearest GP's surgery. If you're keeping the same doctor and dentist, don't forget to let them know you're moving!
Get a TV licence
If you have your own television set (or any other device used to receive or record television programmes, such as a video recorder, set-top box or a PC with a broadcast card), you'll need a licence.
If you live in a student hall of residence or have your own separate room or bedsit in a shared flat, you will still need your own licence. Find out more at the TV licensing website.
Find out when your household waste is collected, where you should leave your rubbish bags or bins and where you can store waste between collection days.
Think you'll remember all that? You can download a checklist of things to do and tick them off as you go along.
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