Settling in

Once the tenancy agreement has been signed, the deposit has been paid, and the first month's rent has been paid, the tenancy is yours. Landlords, or their representatives, will usually not release keys until the money for the deposit has been cleared in their account; this can take a few days.

  1. Moving in

    Ensure there is an inventory (a list of all the items in the property and the property's condition) and keep a signed copy. A good inventory can help reduce any disagreement later on. 

    Establish where the gas and electricity meters are note down what the readings are. Ask the estate agent which companies are supplying the utilities.

    1. Home utilities

      1. Household bills

        When moving in taking meter readings is important. The landlord can advise about which companies supply the property's gas, electricity and water; new tenants can then call the company and set up a new account. Alternatively utility companies will usually send a letter 'to the occupier' encouraging the tenant to set up a new account by providing the meter readings. If there any outstanding debts that the previous tenants haven't paid, inform the landlord or estate agent.

        For an estimation of utilities costs click here.


      2. Telephone, broadband and Wi-Fi

        Many telephone, broadband and TV utilities can come as 'bundled' packages; this can be a useful way to get a bargain and simply set up all of your requirements in one go.

        The majority of London has high-speed internet connection available. To set up broadband services a telephone line rental is usually required as part of the price of the broadband services. Costs vary depending on the speed of internet. Comparison sites can be used to check what is available, particularly for local speeds provided in the area.

        An example of an average cost can be found here.


      3. TV

        In the UK there are free UK digital channels on any television. If more channels are required consider packages providing satellite or cable services for an additional monthly cost.

        To use a TV in the the UK there is a requirment to pay a one-off yearly TV licence. Details can be found here.


    2. Council tax

      Generally the local council will send a letter 'to the occupier' explaining council tax requirements. New tenants can also contact the council directly and inform them of the new tenancy. Tenants are responsible for ensuring they are paying council tax.

      Students or people living alone may not need to pay the full council tax, and rates vary between councils and between properties. It is worth being aware of the different costs when choosing an area to live in by checking here. Additionally this map details council tax variations across the boroughs.

      1. Rubbish and recycling

        All local councils in the UK offer rubbish and recycling collection services. The days and frequency of these collections, and what can be recycled, is specific to the property's location. Click here for further information.

        1. Contents insurance

          It is a good idea to have insurance, so that if personal belongings are stolen an insurance company will provide compensation. This covers the possessions kept in the home, and in some cases portable items as well. Always remember to carefully check what is included when choosing a policy.

          There is also buildings insurance, which is for landlords or property owners and covers the structure of a property, for example, walls, windows, baths, toilets and roof.

          1. Moving out

            Either the tenant or the landlord can bring a tenancy to an end, but notice must be given to the other party. Tenants are legally obliged to fulfil the tenancy and pay the rent until the end of the agreement. A break clause defines whether the tenancy can be ended early and how much notice time is required.

            Some landlords may release the tenant from the contract if a replacement can be found. A new tenancy agreement should be drawn up to change the responsibility for the property to the new tenant. Remember that despite complex legal requirements, if the landlord and tenant can come to an agreement that keeps them both happy the rules do not need to be followed strictly.