1. TELL PEOPLE YOU'RE MOVING
Apart from your friends, you must inform your move to your bank, your credit card providers, your employer, your utility providers, and the council. An easy-to-forget institution is the DVLA. You might think you’re changing your home, not your car. But if you unwittingly get a speeding offense, or a congestion charge fine, and the DVLA writes to your old
address and doesn’t get a response, the matter can escalate quickly. It can even go all the way to the courts without you knowing a thing.
2. REDIRECT YOUR MAIL
- Important questions to ask before offering to guarantee someone's rent
- How landlords can do their own fire safety assessment online
- The accidental landlord must quickly child-proof a home
For added peace of mind use a mail redirection service. Royal Mail charges start from £33.99 for three months and take just five days to set up.
3. CLEAN THE FLAT
Inadequate cleaning accounts for over a fifth of deductions from tenants’ deposits, according to the Deposit Protection Scheme (DPS).
The simplest way to avoid this is to pay a reputable firm for an end-of-tenancy clean. This may even be a requirement in your contract, so check.
When the cleaners finish, make sure you take photos of their hard work. That way, if cleaning concerns do arise, it will be easier to take them up with the cleaning firm rather than have it affect your deposit.
4. INITIATE THE RETURN OF YOUR DEPOSIT
“Either the tenant or landlord can start the repayment process at any time after the property is vacated,” says Alexandra Coghlan-Forbes, head of adjudications at the DPS.
“Once the process begins, if the repayment is agreed, it will all be paid straight away,” she added.
With London landlords often requiring six weeks’ rent as a deposit, make sure you’re not the one holding up its return.
5. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS ON WEAR AND TEAR
“Landlords can’t deduct money for ‘reasonable wear and tear’ such as a carpet that has gradually worn away,” highlights the CAB.
Similarly, if you’ve lived in the property for many years, the landlord should expect the property to be more worn than a property occupied for just six months. If you need help to challenge the deductions, download the handy template letter from Shelter’s website or speak to the CAB. If you can’t come to an agreement, raise a dispute through the DPS.
6. SETTLE YOUR BILLS
As you wave goodbye to your old flat, take the CAB’s advice and snap photos of your energy meters before ringing your utility providers with their final readings. That way you will ensure you don’t pay a penny more than you owe. Other bills to remember are council tax and broadband.