Moving Home, Collecting Your Stuff and Moving Out

With recent changes to Government regulation on home moving, we expect that there will be some movement within the student community. If you’re currently planning to return home, travel back to your term time address to collect belongings or permanently moving out of your current residence we wanted to provide you with all the latest advice, guidance and useful information you might need.

The current advice is not explicit to students and we will continue to update this advice following guidance from the Government, the local council and West Midlands Police.

Returning to a family home or other permanent residence

The Government has amended the coronavirus (COVID-19) regulations to make clear that people who wish to move home can now do so. Current Government advice is not explicit to students who are moving out of private student houses. However, the following Government advice on moving during the covid-19 outbreak has been published here.

It is not encouraged to move into any home where people have coronavirus or are self-isolating.

Financial Obligations

  • Under current Government guidelines, landlords are under no legal obligation to cancel housing contracts if you decide to leave your property early.
  • Ensure your rent payments are up to date unless you have agreed an alternative payment plan with your landlord / letting agent. 
  • Take final gas and electricity meter readings and share this with your utility companies to avoid being charged beyond your leave date. Remember to cancel any contracts with internet providers, TV services etc. Coordinate bill payments with your housemates. Please note, final bills can sometimes be higher than anticipated.
  • If you are in financial difficulty please email guildadvice@guild.bham.ac.uk for support.

Advice on returning to a property and collecting your belongings 

Anyone involved in any aspect of the home moving process should practice social distancing in line with public health advice and you should avoid using public transport wherever possible.

  • Contact your landlord / letting agent to inform them of your plans to return. We also recommend discussing (preferably in writing) the condition in which you should leave the property. Where you are unable to meet contractual obligations such as standard of cleanliness, this should be discussed with your landlord / letting agent.
  • Communicate with housemates to create a staggered schedule for returning to the property. Returning on the same day as others is highly discouraged and should be avoided if it all possible.
  • Attend the property alone where possible or restrict the number of people who return with you.
  • Wash your hands regularly and wipe down all door handles and surfaces before you leave.
  • Where the property is currently occupied, we encourage occupying housemates to vacate the property whilst removal of belongings from returning housemates is taking place. This is required to minimise contact with those not in your household. Where this isn’t possible, social distancing measures should be in place. Unfortunately, this isn’t a social opportunity – keep that online for now!
  • Where the property is occupied, we also encourage inside doors to be kept open to avoid the need to touch them.
  • Aim to meet the property standards agreed with your landlord / letting Agent. You can discuss with housemates dividing of shared responsibilities like cleaning of communal areas. Remember to take photos or videos when you leave to avoid deposit disputes later on.
  • Please ensure all household rubbish is not left in the property and is placed in the appropriate bin outside
  • Last year we saved over 1000 bags of unwanted belongings going to landfill with our Junkbusters campaign. If you have belongings that you no longer want, please don’t just bin them. Check out our unwanted items section for information on how to donate them instead.

Permanently leaving a property and handing over keys

  • Contact your landlord / letting agent to inform them of your plans to return and plan for the safe return of your keys.
  • Check and double check that you have locked the property securely, including all windows, back and front doors. Unfortunately, empty properties can be a target for crime and while you are within the dates of your contract it’s your responsibility to ensure your property is secure.
  • Take final gas and electricity meter readings and share this with your utility companies to avoid being charged beyond your leave date. See financial obligations for more info.

What to do with your unwanted items

We hope to provide more information on how you can donate your unwanted items to local charities as Government restrictions are reviewed.

Meanwhile we recommend the following:

  • Talk to your landlord / letting agent about leaving your belongings, they may offer to responsibly remove them for you. Do not leave items before this has been agreed as charges can sometimes be deducted from your deposit for this reason.
  • Donate to a local foodbank – find your local foodbank
    • Most supermarkets have a collection point near the entrance
  • Donate to Active Wellbeing Society – they have informed us that the easiest way you can donate to them is through your local foodbank. Give your local foodbank a call and advise them of your donation and they will pass this on to the Active Wellbeing Society.

Advice if you are unable to return to your property or return your keys before your contract end date

Currently, there are no official Government guidelines in this area.  

We recommend contacting your landlord or letting agent to discuss potential flexibility in your contract or flexibility in collecting belongings.

Tenants are protected by the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977, which says landlords / letting agents must take care of possessions for a ‘reasonable period’ – although this length of time isn’t defined within the legislation.

Advice on safeguarding your deposit

Typically to ensure you receive your full deposit back at the end of your tenancy you need to make sure that you have taken care of the property and are returning it in the same condition as when you took it on subject to ‘wear and tear’.

We recommend taking photos or videos of the condition of the property when you leave and sharing these with the landlord / letting agent at the earliest opportunity.

More information on deposits is available here

Shipping & Storage Companies

Below are details of some local storage companies. You will need to contact them to make arrangements to store your belongings. There are other companies who also provide this service (we do not endorse any companies in particular) and so we recommend doing your research and finding the best option for your circumstances. 

Moving In

The Government advises that while coronavirus (COVID-19) measures are in place home buyers and renters should, where possible, delay moving to a new house. However, if moving is unavoidable for contractual reasons and the parties are unable to reach an agreement to delay, people must follow advice on staying away from others to minimise the spread of the virus.

Get in touch with your landlord / letting agent to discuss the safe collection of keys and property access.

It is not encouraged to move into any home where people have coronavirus or are self-isolating.

Who can I speak to for advice?

This advice has been written following Government guidelines.

Updated 15.05.20