Student Accommodation Checklist – What To Do When You First Move In
You’ll probably be really excited to be moving into your uni house or student halls. For many students, it’s their first taste of independence. However, with independence comes responsibility, and that means boring admin tasks.
It can be hard to know what to do when moving into your first house, so we’ve put together this simple checklist of things to check and do when you first move into you student accommodation. Knowing what needs doing will also help you in the future, as much of this checklist will be the same for moving house in the future.
There are things you’ll need to sort before you move in, and things that can wait until after. We’ve broken down this guide into three parts so you can know when you need to complete the admin tasks.
What to do Before You Move Into Your Student Accommodation
Before you move into your uni house or student halls, you need to have a few things sorted and checked. Having these done before moving in can save you a headache in the long run. Though if you are in a shared house you will need to communicate with your housemates to ensure you all agree on some bits. Here’s what you should check before you move into your student accommodation:
Student accommodation is known for being full of gadgets, and so is often a target for burglary. Therefore, you’ll want to protect your contents with some insurance. This will generally cover your possessions from theft and damages. Make sure you shop around to find a good deal.
Many students believe that they are covered on their parents home insurance, however this is not always the case. It’s always worth checking before you fork out for your own though. Alternatively, your parents might be able to add cover for your possessions to their home insurance for a fee, so be sure to check and factor this in when you’re shopping around for a deal.
Sort Out Your Utilities
It’s best to have your utilities sorted before you move in, otherwise it can be a big rush when you get to your student home. You want time to shop around to get the best deal, so start looking into utilities a few weeks before you move in.
Utilities include gas, electricity, and internet. All very important for living!
If you are in a shared house, you’ll need to discuss this with your housemates. You could even split up the work and have one person look into each utility. Try and make sure you come to an agreement before you move in as it may take a few weeks for providers to switch over.
In many student halls you won’t have to worry about this as bills are generally included in the rent. And just because you’re in private student accommodation, don’t assume you need to sort this – check if any utilities are included in your rent.
At The Stay Club, all utilities are included in the rent, so if you stay with us this is a weight off your mind.
Change Your Address
Close to the day you move in, you’ll want to update your address with various businesses. This isn’t a huge issue if your parents are close, but if you want that extra bit of independence, make sure you do this.
You’ll need to update your address with your bank, mobile phone provider and uni to start with. That way, your post will actually come to you and you won’t have to wait for when you next see your parents or have them open your mail over the phone for you.
Also, make sure your family and friends know your new address. That way they’ll know where to send the birthday cards to.
Check the Parking Situation
As you’re going to uni, chances are your accommodation will be in a city, and cities tend to have restrictions on parking. So, if you’re planning to drive and have your car with you, you’ll need to make sure you can park.
You may need to apply for a permit, which you should do a few weeks before you move in, or you may be lucky and have parking available. Either way, make sure you check before you arrive. You don’t want to get to your new home and find you can’t park anywhere nearby.
What to do on the Day You Move Into Your Student Accommodation
When the day of moving in arrives you’ll be so excited, but you need to keep your head and do some bits of admin before you let your hair down and party with your housemates.
Meet Your New Housemates
Ok, so this isn’t really admin, but we couldn’t leave it out. If you’re moving in with friends, this isn’t one you need. But if you’re moving into halls or private student accommodation, you’ll want to make some friends.
The best thing to do is to leave the door to your room open. That way as other students move in, you’ll be able to greet them and get to know each other. Have some sharing treats around too, like biscuits, which is always a great way to break the ice.
Check the Inventory
You should be given an inventory to check when you move in. This shows what items are provided (washing machine, microwave, for example) and the condition that the house or flat is in. You need to check everything on this list.
This inventory is used to judge whether you get your deposit back at the end of the tenancy. So be sure to check your room and communal areas thoroughly. If you disagree with anything, make a note, and take photos as evidence. Do the same if you notice any damages that aren’t on the inventory.
If you don’t do this, you are at risk of losing your deposit when you move out.
Check You Have A Gas Safety Certificate
All rental properties are required by law to have a Gas Safety Certificate, or CP12, which needs to be renewed every year. This should be done before you move in, to ensure that the property is safe for you.
If you haven’t already been sent the certificate, ask to see it.
Do A Safety Check
All this should have been covered in the inventory, but there’s no harm having a double check where safety is concerned. Make sure that all the windows close securely and that all locks work. If there are any issues here, contact your landlord immediately.
You’ll also need to check for smoke alarms and carbon monoxide monitors if required. Your landlord is required to install a smoke alarm on every floor and a CO detector needs to be placed in any room that has a solid fuel burning appliance. Although your landlord does not need to place one in rooms with gas appliances, check if there is one. If not, it might be worth buying one for your own piece of mind. Check the batteries of these alarms and make sure they are working. If they need new batteries this is generally your responsibility, but really the landlord should have them working for when you first move in. If alarms are missing or not working (after you check the batteries), get in touch with your landlord straightaway.
Take the Meter Readings
You probably won’t need to do this (or even be able to) in student halls or accommodation where your bills are included in the rent. But if you’re in a student house where the bills are your responsibility, take the meter readings as soon as you move in. Chances are your energy suppliers will want this for billing you correctly from the start.
It’s also a good idea to take a picture of each meter too, that way you have proof of the readings on the day you moved in.
Alright, this is an obvious one, but you’ll want to get at least a little bit unpacked when you arrive. It can seem like a huge task if you’ve just thrown everything in random bags and suitcases. You can either do this over a few days or in one big go.
Whichever way you choose, start with the essentials. Make sure you have enough clothes unpacked for the next few days, take your cooking equipment to the kitchen, sort out your bedding and get out everything you need for Uni.
Non-essential items can be left for now if you’re not feeling up to unpacking. But be sure not to leave it too long, or it’ll end up being that big horrible task you never want to do.
Everything should be clean when you move in (if it wasn’t, make a note on the inventory and notify your landlord). However, even if the property has been scrubbed to within an inch of its life, chances are you’ve all made a bit of a mess unpacking. Dust has probably flown everywhere, and the house will probably not be quite as clean.
If you give it the once-over straightaway, and keep on top of cleaning in the future, it’ll keep this job down to a minimum. The longer you leave off cleaning, the longer it will take to clean in the future, so get into good habits straightaway.
Do A Food Shop
Chances are you’re going to be busy with Fresher’s Week and finding your feet at Uni, so it’s worth doing a quick food shop on the day you move in. Stock up on basic store cupboard essentials like tea, coffee, pasta, rice and a few tins. If you get a good stock of store cupboard items, you’ll only need to nip out for fresh and perishable bits as and when you need them.
What To Do After Moving In
There are a few important bits of admin that should be done pretty soon after moving in, but you don’t have to do them straightaway. Aim to get these bits done in the first few weeks of living in your new student house.
Register With Healthcare Facilities
You’ll need to make sure you have someone to go to if you get ill. So, register with at least a doctor near your student housing. If you are far from home, or not planning on going back often, you may also want to register with a dentist and opticians.
It’s important that you look after your health during your course, so get registered before you need them.
Once you’ve moved in, you’ll want to make your room yours. After you’ve settled and unpacked, start making your stamp on your room. However, always be careful with what you’re allowed to do. Your contract might state that you can’t put holes in the walls for nails, or you may not even be able to use Blu Tack.
If this is the case, there are still ways to decorate. Use cushions and throws to decorate, put photos in stands rather than on the walls. There are still plenty of ways to make your room feel like home if there are restrictions.
Check your Budget
The first few weeks is a good time to look at your budget. Check what all your essential expenses are such as bills, rent and average food shop and add them all up. Then see what your income is and figure out what’s left over after you’ve paid your essentials. This left over can be used for non-essentials.
It’s good to see what you need to live on and how much you have left over. You don’t want the stress of running low on cash at uni. It may also be worth making a spreadsheet and keeping track of this on a regular basis.
Register to Vote
You’re at uni and you’re now old enough to vote, so make sure your voice is heard. Register to vote so that when an election come you can have a say in who represents you. Chances are your university city will be your home for three years, so you want to make sure you have a say in what happens there.
Moving into your student home is an exciting time, but you need to make sure you do some important admin tasks too. These admin tasks will make life easier in the long run and potentially even save you money.
If you’re studying in London, take a look at our accommodation throughout the UK capital.