A person holding keys

a guide to renting a new home


Things to do on your first day:


  • Set up a standing order from your bank to pay your rent. You can pay rent by bank transfer monthly, but if you set up a standing order the money comes out of your bank automatically, meaning you can’t forget to make the payment.
  • If you are paying your rent through Universal Credit, then you will need to report a change of circumstances to inform the DWP that you have moved home. You will also need and to tell them how much your rent will be. Universal Credit is paid into your account, and you will then be expected to pay the rent yourself.
  • If you are worried about paying the rent yourself, you can ask your landlord to apply for Direct Payments through the DWP.

take meter readings:

  • Locate your gas, electricity and water meters (these will likely be in different places and could be outside the property). Take pictures of the number on the meter and give them to the current supplier of the property as soon as possible to avoid estimated bills and being overcharged.
gas meter

your gas meter may look something like this

Water meter

your water meter might look something like this

your electricity meter might look something like this

inspect the property:

  • Before you bring all of your things into the property, have a look around to check for damages, missing items, or any issues you need to raise with the landlord. Most landlords provide an inventory with pictures as part of your tenancy agreement. Check this over in detail and if you spot any inaccuracies, raise them with your letting agent as soon as possible. Read Shelter’s inventory guide for more information.

take pictures:

  • During your inspection, make sure you take photos of the property at the same time. Email yourself a copy of the photos so that you have them to refer to when you move out. This step is particularly important when claiming back your deposit.

test the smoke alarms on your property:

  • Your landlord should have done this already, but it’s helpful to double-check.

read your tenancy agreement fully:

  • It is useful to be aware of the contract in full, how much notice you need to give when you want to leave and any other conditions.

Things to do in the first week of moving in:

know your tenancy rights:

keep a copy of your tenancy agreement in a safe place:

  • Your tenancy agreement is a legally binding document and contains important information about your and your landlord’s rights and responsibilities. It’s important that you’re able to easily access it whenever needed.

register with your local council:

  • You must register with your local council to arrange Council Tax – the sooner you do this the better. Some councils have a ‘just moved in’ page on their website, so you may be able to register your new address online, if not, just call them.
  • If you’re on a low income, live alone or have other support needs such as a disability, you may be able to claim a reduction or discount in Council Tax. Citizens Advice’s resource explains this in more detail, along with how to apply.
  • It’s also a good idea to check your council website for things like bin collection dates and any other important information about your neighbourhood.

register with your local water company:

  • This bill may be included in your rent so check your tenancy agreement, but if it is not, you must call up the local water company to arrange payments. Your water may also be on a meter, but the water company will know whether this is the case.

see if you’re getting the best deal on gas and electric:

  • Use comparison sites to see if you can get cheaper gas and electricity. Be aware of the difference between fixed rate and variable tariffs, or you can call a gas and electricity company, and they can explain the difference between tariffs for you.

set up Wi-Fi:

  • If you’re bringing your Wi-Fi provider from a different property, you must call them and tell them you’re moving as you will probably need an engineer to come out and install the internet. If you’re getting a new internet provider, use comparison sites to check what the best deal for your area is.

update electoral register:

  • Being on the electoral roll and having correct details is important for your credit score and voting season. You can also be fined for not applying to be on the electoral register. You can opt out of the “open register” and can find out more information on that here. Use the GOV.UK website to update your electoral roll details.

update driving licence and car insurance:

  • If you drive or use a driving licence for ID, make sure you tell your insurance company and the DVLA about your change of address. Your car insurance price may change, or you may have to pay an administration fee.

redirect mail:

  • Make sure you get your mail at your new address. You can do this by manually updating companies that have your address, or you can use a paid service like Royal Mail or Sloth Move (some services can be accessed for free). Make sure you update your address with places like your employer, school or university, bank, credit card, or loan companies, HMRC, TV licence. Also, give your old letting agent a forwarding address in case any post gets missed.

If you are worried about housing, or having any questions about managing your home, you can contact us by emailing gethelp@akt.org.uk or via the live chat on our website.

We are online Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm (closed on Bank Holidays). You can leave us a message outside of these times, and we will get back to you.