Moving house checklist
When moving home, there is so much to think about. How do you transport everything? What should you do to get your deposit back? Our moving house checklist explains all this and more.
It can already feel pretty daunting to pack everything up and transport it all to your new house, but these are unfortunately just two of a number of tasks you need to do when moving home.
Once you've factored in dealing with bills, informing important companies of your new address and doing everything necessary to get your full deposit back, it becomes difficult to keep track of it all.
But, you'll be glad to know that we've made the entire process a whole lot easier for you. Here, we've condensed down all of the key things to do when moving out, into one simple checklist.
16 best things to do when moving house
Here is the full moving house checklist:
Confirm a move-out date and time
As early as you can, contact your landlord to confirm that you will be moving out at the end of your tenancy and arrange a date and time for the final check out.
The check-out time is especially important. This will be when you hand in your keys, so you'll need to be completely confident that everything will be moved out and the flat or house will be spotless by this point.
If it's a tight turnaround between picking up your keys for the new house and handing in your keys for the previous place, it will help to arrange the check-out time for the end of the day. This will ease the pressure a bit on the move-out day, as you'd have slightly more time to do last-minute tasks.
However, aim to have as much of the move done as you can before your check-out day. Moving out always takes longer than you'd expect, so you definitely don't want to leave everything until the final day if you can avoid it.
Plan how to move your belongings to your new home
Once you've got your check-out date and time confirmed, the next step is to work out the best way to move your belongings from the old house to your new one.
Here are some of the best ways to move house:
- Car – If you have a car (or know someone who does), this could be a great option for moving house. You could move everything across in one or two trips so it's one of the quickest ways to move, and it could work out as one of the cheapest ways to move house if, as you'd just be paying for petrol for the journey (as long as the journey doesn't require too much fuel).
- Van – Hiring someone with a van (e.g. through a house removal service) is another quick way to move. It might be more expensive than using your own car but could be cheaper than getting multiple taxis. Make sure you hire the van driver through a reputable company with good reviews to ensure you're meeting someone trustworthy and reliable.
- Taxi – Another good option is to hire a big taxi, such as an Uber XL, to transport the majority of your belongings. It could be a good alternative to hiring someone with a van if you're struggling to find a trusted organisation to book through.
- Public transport – Moving your belongings by train or bus isn't easy, but it is possible if you're willing to make multiple trips. It helps if you have a couple of suitcases (you can find some here) that are able to hold loads of things so that you can bring as much as possible on each trip.
How much does it cost to move house?
The cost of moving depends on the type of transport you choose, the distance you need to travel between properties, whereabouts in the UK you're based and the number of trips you need to make.
We'll use the example of moving one hour away, from one part of London to another, to give general guidelines of how much each mode of transport could cost:
- Car – You could be paying £80+ for a full tank of fuel.
- Van – It could cost around £50+ per hour to hire someone with a van to transport your things. But please note that you might get charged for a minimum of two hours, so the cost would quickly add up.
- Taxi – An hour-long ride in an Uber XL could cost around £40. Remember that one trip might not be enough, so again, the overall cost of the move would be higher than this.
- Public transport – If you make each journey by bus, it should only cost you around £1.60. However, factor in how many trips you will need to take, there and back, to move everything across. You could easily be doing 10 return trips and paying over £30 altogether.
When looking for ways to save money on your house move, do some research to work out which mode of transport will work out as the most cost-effective for you based on your journey.
Cancelling bills is up there as one of the most tedious parts of moving out, but it's also one of the most essential.
Make sure you get in touch with all of the companies that you've been paying bills to and let them know that you're moving.
The main ones will be your gas and electricity suppliers (unless your landlord handled these bills for you).
Even if you were exempt from paying council tax, you'll still need to notify the council of your move so they can update their records.
Plus, if you needed a TV Licence this year, notify TV Licensing that you'll be moving out and will no longer need the licence at that address. You may be able to get a partial TV Licence refund if you paid for the full year but haven't needed the licence for that entire period.
Take final meter readings for energy providers
To make sure you're fully up to date with your bills at the time of moving, take your final meter readings before you move out. This will avoid you getting charged for any energy that's used in the house or flat after you moved out.
Let the energy suppliers know the final readings so that they can calculate your final bill. It's also a good idea to keep a record of the readings (e.g. as a photo on your phone) in case there are any problems ahead of you receiving and paying the final bill.
Pack everything up
This sounds like an obvious step, but don't underestimate this one.
Packing always – and we mean always – takes longer than you'd expect when you're moving home. This is the point at which you'll realise just how much stuff you've accumulated over the time you've been living there.
Particularly if you'll be moving by taxi, bus or train, the key is to pack as much as you can into suitcases. This way, you'll easily be able to transport everything to and from the stations/taxi pick-up points.
It can help to pack up each bag with a particular 'theme' so that you can quickly find the things you need while unpacking.
For example, you could keep kitchenware together in one suitcase, bedroom decorations together in another, clothes in another, and so on. And if you're feeling super organised, you could even label each bag with a sticker (like one of these) that indicates what's inside it.
To wrap up fragile items like glasses and crockery, you could pick up some free newspapers (you can usually find them in train stations) and use those. This will help you save money if you were otherwise planning to buy bubble wrap or something similar.
Also, if you need more cardboard boxes, you might be able to get these for free too – another great way to save money when moving house. Pop into your local supermarket and ask if they have any free boxes that they could give you. They might have some lying around that had been used for stock, that would otherwise go to waste.
Keep a separate bag for the first night after moving
When packing, keep one bag aside that's got all of the essentials for your first night in your new home.
The chances are, you won't have the time or energy to unpack everything immediately, so having easy access to toiletries, pyjamas and a fresh change of clothes for the next day will make a massive difference.
Check every cupboard and drawer
Leave no cupboard or drawer unchecked when moving home.
This will ensure you don't lose anything you'll later need, which in the long run could save you money.
For example, you may come across cutlery, headphones, stationery or other small items that are easy to miss, but very useful. If you lose them in the move, you'd only need to buy them again in future, so you can avoid this expense by doing thorough checks before leaving.
Thoroughly clean the house
If you want to get your full tenancy deposit back, it's essential to leave the house in the same standard it was when you moved in.
According to the Tenant Fees Act 2019, landlords can no longer demand that tenants hire professional cleaners before they move. If a landlord does request this, contact local Citizens Advice – you may find it's an illegal request and not something you should have to be splashing out for.
Although you don't need to pay for a professional end-of-tenancy clean, landlords and agents can still request that the property is cleaned to a professional standard.
Ultimately, you're required to clean it to the same level of cleanliness it was in when you arrived, apart from fair wear and tear. So if it was professionally cleaned before you moved in, you'd either need to clean it to a very high standard yourself or choose to hire professional cleaners.
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) has some handy guidance on what parts of the flat or house you should pay close attention to when cleaning. They advise that these things need to be cleaned the most before you move:
Try these eco-friendly home and cleaning products.
- Shower and/or bath
- Fridge and freezer
- The floor.
Report any damages
In the weeks leading up to your move, look out for any aspects of the house or flat that might need repairing. It's best to inform your landlord of these things before you move, to give them a chance to make necessary repairs before you leave.
As long as the damages are due to general wear and tear, and you've given your landlord reasonable time to fix them, you shouldn't have money deducted from your deposit over them. Make sure you know your tenancy rights.
It could help to inform your landlord of any issues by email, including images of the damages that clearly show they're the result of wear and tear. Having this in writing is a good idea, just in case there are any disputes about the damages after you've moved out.
Small repairs like changing lightbulbs are usually down to the tenant, so make sure you replace any lights that aren't working.
Please note that if you've damaged anything deliberately or out of neglect, money could be taken out of your deposit to fix or replace them. You could offer to repair the damages yourself as this would give you more control over the cost.
Also, if your landlord does need to replace anything that's broken, they shouldn't charge you any more than the cost of that item. So, if it's a cheap item of furniture that's damaged, they can't charge you for a brand new, expensive item to replace it.
Take photos of the property before you leave
The more photos you can take before you move out, the better.
Anything that was photographed in your inventory when you moved in should be photographed again. This will allow you to clearly see how the condition and cleanliness of the flat or house compares to the start of the tenancy.
And, if your landlord tries to take money from your deposit that you don't think is justified, having plenty of photo evidence will give you a stronger case when disputing.
Check the post before leaving
A final check of the letterbox is important in case, for example, any final bills have been sent to you that you need to pay.
Once you've handed in your keys, you'll no longer be able to receive the post that's sent to your old address, unless it's forwarded to your new home.
You could arrange for your mail to be redirected to your new address by the Post Office, but this will cost you over £30 to set up.
Having one last look in your post box will take barely any time, but is a vital step before the most exciting part of the move...
Move into your new house
Finally, after all of the many stages of moving out, you can start moving your belongings into your new property.
As we mentioned earlier, you may need to make a few trips back and forth to transport all of your things across, but the end of the moving process is very much in sight at this point.
You're very nearly there now – there are a just few more necessary steps left.
Hand in all keys for your old house
Once everything is fully moved into your new home and you've cleaned every inch, or near enough, of the old property, it's time to hand in your keys. This includes the keys from every tenant, as well as any extra keys such as the ones used to access a post box or energy meter.
You need to be confident that there won't be any reason that you'll need to re-enter the house after this, so don't rush this step.
If your landlord gave you specific instructions on how to leave the property, make sure you double-check them all at this stage.
For instance, they may want you to leave the fridge on at a low temperature, or they might have asked for photos of specific parts of the property, such as the inside of the oven to prove it's been cleaned.
This would be the ideal time to do these things. You can then leave the keys with peace of mind, knowing that everything that needs to be done before leaving, has been done.
Set up new bills
Moving house can be exhausting work. But, while it's tempting to sit back, relax and leave the admin tasks until later, your new bills do need to be organised as soon as possible – ideally, on the day you move in.
Unless your landlord handles your bills for you and it's all included in the rent, you'll need to find a new energy provider quickly and make sure the bills are in your and your housemates' names. Check the meter readings in the new house as you'll likely need these to set up the bills.
It might take a week or so after ordering broadband for the flat to get WiFi, so this is another bill that it's good to organise on the day you move in. And, to protect your belongings from the start of your tenancy, it's good to get contents insurance soon after moving.
We talk through the best ways to organise bills, as well as how to split them up fairly between everyone in the house, in our big guide to student bills.You can save loads of money on bills by shopping around to find the best deal.
Update important companies about your new address
As well as contacting energy providers and the local council, you'll also need to inform a number of important companies about your move, such as:
- Your bank
- Student Finance
- DVLA if you have a provisional or full driving licence (you could be fined up to £1,000 if you don't update the address on your licence)
- The local council, both for your old property and your new one (even if you're exempt from paying council tax)
- Your mobile provider.
Essentially, if there are any organisations that you can think of that might need up-to-date records about you, get in touch with them to tell them your new address.
Register for a local GP practice
You may not immediately think of this as an urgent thing to do if you're feeling physically and mentally well, but it's really important to register for a local GP practice quickly after moving.
It can take around a week for your registration with a GP practice to be processed, so waiting until you need to book an appointment will be too late. For example, if you have an infection and need antibiotics, you'll need an urgent appointment – but this would be difficult if you're not registered with the local GP.
Registering early will also mean that your NHS records will be up to date, in case anything gets sent to you in the post, such as an invitation to book a screening test or a vaccination.We have a guide that talks you through how to get cheap healthcare and dentistry.
Introduce yourself to your new neighbours
Having a good relationship with your neighbours can make such a big difference over the course of your tenancy. To get the relationship off to a good start, it can help to knock on their door to say hello and introduce yourself after you've moved in.
If you're particularly keen to make a good first impression, you could maybe get a small bunch of flowers for the households to the left and right of you, or maybe even a box of chocolates. The gifts don't need to cost any more than £5, but they could put a real smile on their faces.
Who knows, it could be the start of a lovely friendship between you and your neighbours.
Download the student moving out checklist
To download or print off the moving house checklist, head to our tools and resources page.
Living with flatmates can come with challenges... but for tips on how to live harmoniously as a household, see our guide to surviving shared living.