Renting

Ways to manage your rent payments and housing costs

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Moving in

Moving day can arrive very suddenly – if you are viewing properties you may be offered a tenancy straightaway so you need to be prepared in advance

Before you accept a tenancy

Taking on a tenancy is a big commitment – make sure you have considered all these points

  • Satisfied yourself that you can regularly cover the main household bills
  • Applied for housing benefit and council tax support if you are eligible
  • Saved enough to cover your advance rent / deposit or found help with these
  • Know what type of heating there is and who the supplier is for electricity and gas. If the property is oil-fired check if the oil tank needs topping up as this is likely to cost a significant amount –around £200
  • Enough stuff to meet your basic cooking, cleaning, eating, sleeping and lighting needs (this might include light bulbs), when you move in
  • Worked out how you will transport your belongings to your new home
  • A file, folder or box to keep together all the financial and legal information about your home
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Moving in day checklist

The priorities when you move in are to feel safe and check your main supplies

  • Read the electric and gas meters (take a picture on your phone if you can)
  • Advise the electric and gas suppliers that you have moved in and let them know how you will be paying your energy bills
  • If there is a prepayment meter make sure you have your own card and put some money on the card (If not you will be paying someone else’s bills!)
  • Check you know how to work the heating – if you have gas heating in Housing Association accommodation it is likely the Housing Association will need to organise an engineer to visit and reconnect your boiler so get this organised straightaway (often called ‘re-commissioning’)

If you are renting from a Housing Association, they can only reconnect the heating and hot water systems if you have money on your electric and gas meters (if pre-paid) or you have told your suppliers you have moved in – so make this a priority.

Make sure you are safe in the property

  • Find out where the smoke alarms / carbon monoxide detectors are and that you know how they work
  • Find out where the water stop cock is (and water meter if fitted)
  • Check you know where the electric fuse box is
  • Check you have all the keys and know how the locks operate

PLUS – Have a kettle, mugs, food for the day and a torch handy. A portable heater is also useful.

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Within two weeks after moving

There is a lot to do when you move:

  • Set up accounts with all your suppliers (gas, electric, water  and phone / internet if you have a landline)
  • Let the TV licensing authority know your address if you plan to watch TV
  • Tell your employer and the DWP your new address
  • Check if you can get any extra help with beds, white goods, food and heating bills – there are various grants that you may be able eligible for
  • Think if you need home insurance – if you are renting from a Housing Association they should be able to give you details of low cost schemes
  • Check if your District Council need any more information before approving any applications you have made for housing benefit and council tax support
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First month

Help yourself to feel more settled quickly and in control of the bills:

  • Start a spending diary so that you can see how much your home is costing
  • Do a benefits check to make sure you are getting everything you are entitled to
  • Make sure you are getting the best value for money by getting good deals on your energy, water and shopping as well as recycling and free websites for household items and decoration
  • If you are not already online at home check out our pages here on getting onto the internet. This will help you in saving money – at least £500 a year
  • Update your details and those of everyone who lives with you on the voting register
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First year

Ideas to help you stay secure in your home and plan for the future you want.

  • Check your spending regularly and work out a detailed budget – see if you can start saving – even a small amount each month quickly adds up and you will have some protection against future financial shocks
  • Find all the best places for free and recycled household goods to help make your house a home on a budget
  • Try volunteering to get to know more people locally
  • Finally take time to think about your own goals – moving home is a good time to think about what you want in life. There is lots of free advice and help and training to get you started, search here to see what services there are near to you
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