Before you move from your halls of residence to accommodation in the private rented sector, think ahead about what you will need to do, so you are prepared for the big move in the Summer.

As a ‘soon to be tenant’ you will have rights and responsibilities when living in the property, and it is important that you understand what to expect. We also want to keep you safe and make sure your time living in the community is enjoyable, so we’ve put together 5 quick steps (PDF) to help you.

We’ve also created an e-module in conjunction with Cardiff Metropolitan University to highlight important factors you need to know about living in your new community. Answer the questions on this survey and see how well you know about the community you’re moving into!

Remember to follow us on Twitter and be our friend on Facebook, for up to date tips and advice. Join in with the conversation on twitter with the hashtag #HallsToHomes

First steps

Ask your landlord or letting agent for an inventory and check it carefully.

An inventory details what’s in the property and the condition of the house. Note on the inventory any problems, scratches and obvious stains and list any items that are missing or damaged. Take photos (with dates marked) of every room and any serious problems. Make sure you agree the inventory with your landlord/agency and you both sign it. Keep a copy for your own records and refer back to it when you move out.

Locate the gas and electricity meters

Contact the utility companies with the meter readings and the date you moved in – keep a note of the readings for yourself. This prevents you paying for gas and electricity used by previous tenants. If in a shared house, ask for all tenants names to be put on the bills, this will prevent one person being solely liable for all bills. Organise other bills like water and TV licenses and arrange between housemates how you will pay.
Locate the fuse box, stop taps and find out how to turn off the water/gas and electricity.

Check if your deposit is protected

Your landlord or managing agent must protect your deposit in a Tenancy Deposit Protection scheme. This is a legal requirement. Check you have details of where your deposit is being protected. You will need to know this information when you move out. If at the end of your tenancy you disagree with your landlord about the amount of deposit you are entitled to your deposit will be protected by the government scheme until the issue is resolved. More information on deposits can be found here.  If the house has a security alarm make sure you use it! If you don’t you could invalidate the landlord’s house insurance and your belongings insurance.

Health and Safety

Check fire alarms are installed and work, and plan an escape route just in case of a fire. If you have concerns, arrange a free home fire safety check with South Wales Fire and Rescue Service.

Make sure your gas safety certificate is up to date. Ask your landlord/letting agent to show you the certificate – they legally have to do this. Follow advice from the Gas Safe Register about staying safe in your student house.

Register with a local GP and keep the numbers to hand

It’s better to do this as soon as you move in instead of waiting until you are ill as registration could take up to 2 weeks! Find a GP surgery near you.
Stay safe when out and about. If you decide to walk home after a night out, stick with friends and walk down well lighted streets. Don’t get into an unlicensed taxi, travel with friends and sit behind the driver.

Get a Residents’ parking permit

Or even better make a CARdifference, save yourself £2,200 a year and don’t bring a car to University!

Register all valuables with www.immobilise.com a free property register service, and take out insurance for your personal property.

Keep the noise down

Silence is golden was never truer if your neighbour forgets that you are sharing a wall/community; not everyone likes loud music/constant shouting or noise bellowing down the road. Suffering from noise issues? Noise Enforcement Officers can help.
Download our Moving In Checklist (PDF) for a quick and easy guide of what to do when you move in. Check each point off once you’ve completed it! Landlords and letting agents can request free copies to display in their student properties by emailing cardiffdigs@cardiff.gov.uk

Check out these useful tips for renters written by the ‘Money Saving Expert’, Martin Lewis.