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A guide to moving in and out of properties

Whether you are moving in or out of a property there will be things you can do beforehand to make it is as stress-free as possible. So read on and get clued up!

Moving Out

So you are moving out soon? Find out here how to make it a trouble free affair and get your deposit back quickly. Don’t forget to pick up a copy of our deposit leaflet ‘Accommodation Deposit Guide’ for more information. This will provide guidance on getting your deposit back, examples of deposit deductions (to be avoided!), non-return of deposits, and information on the Tenancy Deposit Protection Schemes. 

Getting concerned about what is expected?

Why not ask your landlord/ agent to do an inspection to point out anything you should do to return the house in an acceptable condition?

If you are renting from a university, college or a larger owner, they may have provided you with a tenants’ handbook or special end of tenancy notes which give you full details about what is expected. This may include a list of charges you may incur if any work is needed once the property is returned to them. If you are not sure of anything ask now, don’t wait until you move out.

Cleaning

If you are renting a shared property you are all jointly responsible for its condition at the end of your tenancy. Generally, cleaning the kitchen and bathroom is 50% of the task of cleaning the whole property, so just cleaning your own room is not fairly contributing.

Taking a stand and not cleaning the house because no one else is will not be an acceptable reason to your landlord! You will all end up losing some of your deposits. Remember all the landlord/agent wants is a house returned in an acceptable condition to hand over to new tenants.

Utility Bills

The landlord/agent may retain your deposit until you provide written proof showing that all the bills are paid. This may include an exemption letter for your council tax bills. This stipulation, if applicable, should be detailed in your contract.

A few weeks before you move out, contact the utility companies and let them know the final date of your tenancy. Read the meters on the final day and inform the company to close your account and get the final bill sent on to your forwarding address. Keep a record of the meter readings. As soon as you have paid the final bills make sure you send proof to the landlord/agent.

Moving in

 Money Matters

Something that will be on your mind over the summer is money! Having just paid out a deposit and possibly a summer rent retainer and not having another loan installment for a while, you will need to keep an eye on your finances over the summer. Now is the time to investigate whether you can boost your income maybe by getting a summer job or investigate if you can apply for bursaries, scholarships or academic competitions. The student advice centre will be able to advise you how you might go about this.

The next thing you need to do is look at what money is coming in and what money is going out and prioritise what you really need to spend your money on. If you know you are going to struggle to pay rent in August you need to start looking into where you can save money now. Can you cancel a gym membership that you never use or negotiate yourself a better bargain on your mobile? Rent, energy bills and course equipment are all essential out goings, if you can’t pay for these things you’ll find yourself in a mess pretty quickly. You will find it difficult to catch up with rent payments if you start off behind, if you know you are going to have money issues speak to your landlord and your Student Advice Centre in advance.

All the cool kids are budgeting these days, here are some tips to start the saving!

 Before you arrive

 On the Day

When you get your keys and can finally move into your house, it’s probably a few months since you last saw it and it might be different to how you remember it. Be careful when you are moving in your belongings. Don’t leave the car or house open and unattended as this is a prime time for opportunist thieves to steal your valuables!  Once you’re inside your property, check it thoroughly and consider how it compares with when you saw it at the time of signing the contract. Take photos of the property (including any wear and tear damage) so you have proof of its condition as you take over the occupancy. Inform the owner of anything you are concerned about straight away.

Check off the fixtures and fittings against the inventory (if available) and if anything is missing or damaged, make a note of it, take a photo and once again contact the landlord. If things are damaged, dirty or missing when you move in take photos and write a list of repairs in priority order and how you would like the issue resolving. Write to the landlord with this list, giving them a reasonable time in which to respond. If you do not report things at this point you may find yourself paying for it out of your deposit at the end of the year. Equally with your own possessions, you may want to identify them by marking them with your postcode.

All properties should have a Periodic Electrical Safety Certificate and a Gas Safety Certificate. If you haven’t already done so, ask to see these and make a note of the renewal dates so that you are aware of whether they will need renewing during your tenancy.

Cleanliness

 Was the house clean when you arrived? If it wasn’t inform the owner in writing.

 Escape

If there was a fire in the main access passageways of the house, could you get out?

Repairs

Do any repairs need doing? If so, inform the owner in writing.

Decoration & Furniture

Does any decorating need doing? If so, find out who is going to do it and who is responsible for paying for it. Most owners don’t allow tenants to decorate, so don’t start putting up shelves or hammering nails into the wall without seeking the landlord’s permission. Some landlords may not allow blue tack on the walls so check this as well. If you require more cupboard space or new furniture in your room, ask your landlord if they can provide some.  TOP TIP: If you bring furniture in to the house and wish to remove the landlords, check that they are ok with you storing it somewhere else and get this in writing

 Utilities

Take meter readings of your gas, electricity and water meters immediately. Register with the relevant utility companies and if possible register everyone in the house so that no one has to take individual responsibility. If you don’t jointly register and some one moves out it will be extremely difficult for you to get their share of the bills. TOP TIP: If you do not know who supplies your gas and electricity there are contact details at the end of this booklet for who will be able to tell you.

Can you find the stop taps for water, gas and electricity?

 Living in the Community

Although certain areas in Leeds are considered ‘student areas’, they haven’t always been that way. Many areas have a higher proportion of year round residents than you might expect. Most students only live in these areas for a few years, but there are other residents who have lived there a lot longer. Sometimes friction builds up between students and neighbours. You can avoid this by thinking about how others might feel about what you’re doing - even if your neighbours are students too.

Security - Reducing the Risks

 Security can be a problem in Leeds’ student areas. However, there are a number of ways you can reduce the risks.

For more information on security in your home and personal safety when you are out and about please see the Knowledge website.

Bike Marking

Throughout the year the police the Police will be teaming up with security staff from the various colleges and universities across Leeds to mark bikes on campus. Unfortunately cycle theft, especially on campus, is a fairly common crime. If you have your bike marked, Police will be able to track your bike back to you if it has been stolen and subsequently recovered. Click here for more Knowledge

 Getting on with the neighbours

Remember you are part of a community - take some pride in it. There are many things you can do to live in the community successfully. When you arrive, introduce yourselves to your immediate neighbours and find out what they’re like. If they’ve got young children who may be disturbed by noise, be sensitive to this. Tell your neighbours about any parties and keep the noise down after 11pm if you have friends round. If you’re coming home late at night don’t talk loudly outside or bang car doors. Chances are that if you are considerate, your neighbours will be less likely to complain and more likely to look after your house while you’re away, which helps to improve the general security of the area.

 Rubbish

Keep your garden free of litter. Cats and foxes can be a problem, so put your rubbish in strong black bags(carrier bags split too easily). If the area you live in has wheelie bins, make sure you wheel your bin out for collection on the correct day and put it back straight afterwards. If you persistently leave your wheelie bin on the street you can be fined. If your rubbish isn’t being collected regularly, contact the council and tell them.

For free collection of bulky items phone Leeds City Council on:  0113 222 4406

Code owners are asked to ensure that gardens are well maintained, if they don’t you or your neighbours can complain to Unipol. For non-Code properties check your contract to make sure who is responsible for the outside areas. It is important to keep hedges and tall plants under control as they can become a security risk.

 Think about the community

If someone’s tipping in an alley way nearby, report it to the Council or the Neighbourhood helpline on 0113 343 1064. If an empty property is being vandalised report it to the police.

Want to do more?

If you’re concerned about issues in the area get involved in community groups, or the Unipol Student Forum, lots of students do. Ask at your Students’ Union for details of local community groups

Be house proud

If the outside of your house looks untidy put pressure on the owner or agent to improve things. If you have a garden try and keep it tidy.

 Change of address details

 There are some people you may need to inform of your change of address. You may want to consider:

 

 

 

 

 
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