When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Moving in to your rented home

Moving house can be stressful. Being organised can help to avoid problems on the day or later in your tenancy. Creating a checklist of things to do will help the move run more smoothly.

Check the details

Agree with your landlord or agent when you can move in.  Ideally, the landlord or agent should accompany you on the day you move, but they may ask you to pick up the keys from an office. If the landlord or agent isn't going to carry out an inspection on the day you move in, find out when they intend to do this.  It's important that they have an accurate record of the condition of the property when you first take on the tenancy.

Getting help

If you don’t have access to a vehicle, it can be difficult to move home.  There is no government assistance available to help you move your stuff.  In some circumstances, charities such as the St Vincent de Paul may be able to provide you with help if you are on a very low income. Ask friends and family if they can help you move your belongings.  Some people organise moving parties and provide friends with food and drink for helping them move and unpack.

Get receipts

If you’re paying your rent or deposit on the day you move, make sure you get a receipt from your landlord or agent.  It’s easy to forget important things like receipts at this stressful time, but it could be difficult to get these later on in your tenancy.  Make sure you get a rent book and a copy of your tenancy agreement if you haven’t received these yet.

If you paid your deposit after 1 April 2013 your landlord has to protect your money in an approved tenancy deposit scheme.  The landlord has to give you information about your deposit within 28 days of you paying it. 

Make an inventory

You should make an inventory of the property on the day you move in. You can download a copy of a sample inventory from this site.  If your landlord or agent is present, ask them to inspect the property with you.  If you do this, you can agree on the condition and the cleanliness of the property on the day you took up the tenancy and avoid any disputes over the deposit when you move out.  Make sure your landlord or agent agrees to and signs the inventory.  Don’t forget to check that the landlord has provided a rubbish bin and to find out when rubbish is collected.  Most landlords will provide a wheelie bin for tenants to use, but they're only required to do this if the property is a House in Multiple Occupation. 

If the landlord or agent is not present, you should still take a detailed inventory and take photographs of any items that you feel are in poor condition.  Send a copy of the inventory and the photographs to the landlord or estate agent and ask them to confirm in writing that they have received this information.  If you have an inventory and photographs it should be much easier to resolve any disputes around damages and deposits later in the tenancy.

Powering up

If you live in a house with metered gas or electricity, make sure you have access to the meter cards the day you move in.

If the amenities are not pre-paid you should contact your suppliers to give them your details as quickly as possible. If you don’t do this, and the previous tenants do not pay their final bill, you may receive a bill for their usage.  The company will usually ask you to take a meter reading and will start charging you from this date.  Keep a note of the meter reading in case there are any problems when your first bill arrives.

If the property has an oil-heating system, check how much oil is in the tank and arrange for a delivery. Check your tenancy agreement in case you need to ensure that the same amount of oil is left in the tank when you leave the property. You'll probably need to get any telephone, cable or internet services transferred into your name and transfer your television licence to your new address.

Once you’ve moved into your new home, you need to organise insurance to cover your property in case of damage or theft.  Your landlord’s insurance will only cover the building itself and any furniture or fittings that were provided with the apartment.  If there is a floor or fire in your home, you will not be entitled to any compensation unless you have your own contents insurance.

Getting organised

Once you’ve unpacked, you can start to get organised at your new address.  You’ll need to provide your new address to:

  • Your bank
  • Your employer
  • Your doctor or dentist
  • The Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency
  • Any agencies that process any benefits you may receive and
  • Anyone else that you have accounts or agreements with, e.g. catalogue companies.

You should also register on the electoral roll at your new address. If you watch TV or use the BBC iPlayer on your phone, computer or tablet you will need to apply for a TV licence as soon as you move in.