Let’s first decide if you’re actually going to move out or not – how did this year go?
Did you and your housemates get on with each other? Was it easy to keep to a cleaning rota? Has your landlord or property management agency been helpful and approachable? Were the rent and bills affordable?
If you’re not happy with the situation you have now, then change it and start looking for a new property, maybe with new housemates. Simply visit the Looking for your new home section if you need a reminder on where to start.
If you’ve decided you want to stay with exactly the same people in exactly the same place, you can tell your lettings agent or landlord and re-sign the contract for another 12 months. This will almost always come with an administration fee – and make sure you get your contract checked again, even if you have been told it’s exactly the same.
Have a clear out with Junkbusters
Run by the Community Wardens, Junkbusters allows you to donate your unwanted items at the end of the year without cluttering up the streets.
You can request donation bags from British Heart Foundation to be delivered to your door and volunteers will pick up when they’re full – you may even see our milk float, the Green Machine, driving around Selly Oak to collect all the bags for the charity.
You can also donate sealed, non-perishable food items to the B30 Foodbank which will have a stall set up in Selly Oak on Junkbusters collection days – for more information about what can and can’t be donated, see the B30 website.
Clean from top to bottom
Get some serious cleaning supplies and grab your rubber gloves – over the year, your property will inevitably have built up some mess and dirt that will need cleaning away if you want to keep your deposit. Share these jobs out among everyone, even if some people are leaving before others, to make sure everybody does their fair share.
Complete this checklist as you go to make sure you’ve cleaned everything!
A lot of contracts insist that the garden will be returned in the state it was given – chances are you haven’t been mowing the grass every week. Double check this and make sure when you sign your contract that the proper equipment to maintain the garden is provided.
If it is, make sure you use it! If it isn’t then you will still be responsible and may have to borrow equipment, or hire a gardener.
Take final meter readings
Once you’re finished using water, electricity, and gas, take a final meter reading so you can close the accounts in your name at that address accurately. You don’t want to be paying for the next tenant’s usage.
Check your original inventory
Go back through the original inventory document and make sure you make honest notes about anything that has been damaged, replaced, or otherwise changed during your time in the property. For some things you may not be able to avoid deposit deductions but it’s better to have your own record (don’t forget to take lots of pictures).
Cancel your bills and broadband
Using your meter readings you can let your utility and broadband companies know that you are moving address. You can close the account completely and open a new one in your new home, or you can simply let them know that you are moving and that you wish to transfer the account.
Don’t forget any accounts that you share with your housemates such as streaming services, your TV license, or subscription boxes – if you’re changing who you live with, make sure any credit is split evenly before you go your separate ways.
Change your address for important letters
You can do this manually or through the Post Office – note that the Post Office charge a small fee but will capture all letters going to your old address and redirect for you while you gradually change your address on all your various accounts.
You don’t want your student loan letters or bank statements going to the wrong address for the next year!
Lock up and return the keys
Always make sure windows and doors are secured before you leave and that you’ve done one final look for belongings and cleanliness. You should give back the keys on time, when you have agreed with the landlord or lettings agent (this may be in your contracts, or in your moving out instructions). Ensure you’ve collected all copies of the house keys.
And that’s it – congratulations, you have successfully navigated the private housing sector.
There’s a chance that you’ll now need to do it all over again for your next student home – just head back to ‘Looking for your new home’.