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Moving into your new home

There are several things you need to do as soon as possible once you've moved into a new home, whether it's a rented property or a place you've bought yourself.

Arrange your move

How you plan your move will depend on:

  • how far you are moving
  • how much furniture and other belongings you have
  • how much time you have
  • how much money you have
  • how strong you are!

If you are moving a short distance and don't have many possessions, then you'll probably be able to move everything yourself, perhaps with the aid of a few friends and a rented van. However, if you have a lot of belongings or are not physically fit enough to carry a sofa up four flights of stairs, you may want to consider getting in the professionals.

TheMoveChannel.com has lots of useful information about:

  • DIY moves
  • hiring a removal firm to do the job for you
  • budgeting for your move
  • packing and preparing for your move
  • things to do on the day.

Think safety first

  • Make sure you know where the trip switches, water and gas mains valves are, as you may need to turn them off in an emergency. If you can't find them, ask the estate agent or landlord to show you where they are.
  • Check that all the windows and doors lock securely. If you are moving into rented property and want to fit extra locks or a security chain on the door, speak to your landlord first. They may do this for you if you ask.
  • Check that the property has enough smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, that there's a fire blanket in the kitchen and that all gas and electrical appliances are safe. You should also work out how you would get out in an emergency.
  • If you are moving into an HMO your landlord has to provide certain safety arrangements - find out more about HMO regulations.
  • If you are renting, make sure you know how to contact your landlord in an emergency.

Find out more about keeping safe in your home .

Make an inventory

If you are moving into rented property, you'll need an inventory.

Find out more about making an inventory.

Insure your belongings 

If you are moving into rented property, check with the landlord that the property is insured before you move in. The landlord's insurance will only cover damage to the structure of the property and the landlord's own furniture, so you'll have to take out your own insurance for your personal belongings.

If you own the property, you will need buildings insurance as well. This will be a condition of your mortgage. Find out more in the section on housing costs.

Register with the electricity and/or gas companies

You must remember to register with the electricity and/or gas companies that supply the property as soon as you move in. Otherwise, if the person who lived in the property before you did not pay their final bill, you may be expected to pay what they owe. All you need to do is ring the supplier(s) on your first day, tell them that you have moved in and give them the number on the meter. The bill will be put in your name and you will be charged from that time onwards. Keep a note of the meter number in case you need to query your first bill.

How can I find out who the supplier is?

If you don't know who the supplier is:

  • Gas - call the Gas Network Identity Line on 0870 160 0229
  • Electricity - call SSE Power Distribution on 0870 900 9690 if you live in North Scotland or SP Power Systems on 0845 270 9101 if you live in South Scotland (visit the questions section of the Consumer Focus website to find out more).

What if the supply has been cut off?

If the electricity and/or gas have been cut off, you may have to pay a connection charge to have the supplies reconnected. Contact your supplier to find out how much this will be.

Where can I get help and advice?

Consumer Focus, the new consumer watchdog, offers free and impartial advice on a range of energy issues. Visit their website to find out more.

To save money on your bills, you may wish to move to another supplier. Websites such as Saveonyourbills and uSwitch allow you to compare the prices of different companies and switch suppliers.

Get the telephone connected in your name

You'll also need to register the phone in your name, to avoid paying the previous tenant's bills. Dial 150 to arrange this. If the phone has been cut off, you may have to pay a connection charge to have it reconnected.

Again, you may be able to save on your phone bill if you change suppliers. Visit uSwitch to find the cheapest package for you.

Register for council tax

Don't think that if you conveniently forget to let the council know where you're living, you won't have to pay council tax. They'll catch up with you eventually, and you could end up with a huge bill. Contact your local council to find out more.

Remember, if you're under the age of 18 or a full-time student you don't have to pay council tax. Don't forget to fill in an exemption form and get it stamped by the university/college. You can usually pick up this form from your university. If you live alone you can claim a single person discount of 25 per cent. If you are claiming benefits or on a low income, you may also be entitled to council tax reduction.

Enrol your children in school

If you have children and you've moved too far away from their current school, you'll need to enrol them in a new school. You can find out more about schools in your area at the Scottish Schools Online, and Parentzone which both have advice on what to do to change schools and how to make it easier for your children.

Register to vote

To ensure you are able to vote in elections, you'll need to update your details on the electoral register. Visit About My Vote to register online or download a registration form.

Besides allowing you to vote, making sure you're on the electoral register is a simple way of improving your credit rating as well.

Give people your new details

Make sure everybody has your new address and telephone number so they can contact you. Don't forget to tell:

  • friends and family
  • your bank or building society and credit card supplier
  • your employer
  • your school, university or college
  • the relevant agencies for any benefits you are claiming, for example if you're claiming jobseeker's allowance you'll need to contact your local Jobcentre Plus, or if you're claiming pension credit you'll need to contact the Pension Service
  • the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), to change the address on your driving licence
  • any other companies with whom you have a contract or who send you regular information, for example, your mobile phone supplier, stores with which you have credit cards or reward cards, magazines you subscribe to, charities you donate to, your gym, etc.

To save time, register at I Am Moving. This website has a large database of utilities suppliers, store cards, government offices and other companies, and can notify them of your change of address for you, free of charge. For a small fee, you can also arrange to have your post redirected - the Royal Mail website has more information.

Register with a doctor and dentist

If you've moved into a new area, you'll probably need to register with a new doctor or dentist.

  • Use the Yellow Pages to find surgeries in your area, or ask around for recommendations.
  • Call NHS 24 on 08454 24 24 24 for details of your nearest GP's surgery, visit the NHS Scotland website.

If you're keeping the same doctor and dentist, don't forget to let them know you're moving!

Get a TV licence

If you have your own television set (or any other device used to receive or record television programmes, such as a video recorder, set-top box or a PC with a broadcast card), you'll need a licence. If you live in a student hall of residence or have your own separate room or bedsit in a shared flat, you will still need your own licence. Find out more at the TV licensing website.

Rubbish

Find out when your rubbish is collected, where you should leave your rubbish bags or bins and where you can store rubbish in between collections.

Checklist

Think you'll remember all that? You can download a moving home checklist of things to do and tick them off as you go along.

Scotland map Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.
This content applies to Scotland only.
Get advice if you're England

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