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Student housing checklist: 12 key tasks when moving in

We help you power through the admin tasks, so you can start fully enjoying your new house as soon as possible

Admin tasks always feel like they’re much harder than they actually are because of their dullness. However, they really shouldn’t take that long.

To help prove our point, we’ve highlighted 12 tasks that may need your attention when you move into a student house, with advice on getting everything done as quickly as possible.

We won’t pretend that this will be the most interesting article you’ll ever read, but we do think you’ll appreciate it. And make sure to scroll to the bottom for quick advice on your rights as a tenant - useful if you run into any issues.

1. Make sure you’re happy with the inventory

You should receive an inventory at the beginning of your tenancy, which records the condition of the property and what comes with the flat (such as a washing machine).

It’s in your best interests that everything is correct, as it’s used to judge whether you should get your full deposit back when you move out. If something is already broken, you shouldn’t be charged to fix it!

It’s also worth taking photos of everything so that you have your own record.

2. Check you have a Gas Safety Certificate

Landlords are legally required to have a Gas Safety Certificate (CP12) for all the gas appliances in a property, and it should be renewed every 12 months.

If it hasn’t been sent to you already, ask to see it.
  • All gas work carried out in your rented home should be done by an engineer on the Gas Safe Register.
If you live in Scotland, your landlord will also need to send you an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). As a minimum, an electrical safety inspection must be carried out before a tenancy starts. In the rest of the UK, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that the property is safe before a new tenant moves in.

3. Sort out your utilities

Reading gas and electricity meters, shopping around for cheaper energy deals, sorting out payment… not the most exciting tasks in the world! However, it’s very important to get everything sorted as soon as possible.

We won’t go into every detail here, as we have a separate article devoted to helping you get to grips with it all:

4. Unpack your bags

Time to make your house your home! Unpacking is quite daunting, and you may end up disliking the past version of yourself if everything has been randomly thrown into suitcases and bags…

Take on the essentials first, by which we mean things you can’t live without. For example, prioritise unpacking clothes and bedding before decorative items.

5. Clean

The property should be very clean when you move in. If it’s not to a satisfactory standard (or one that matches what’s expected of you when you move in, according to your contract), make a note of it to your landlord.

Even if it’s sparkling clean, it’s probably going to get a little grubby when everyone has unpacked everything. It’s much easier keeping on top of cleanliness than letting it get worse and worse, so whip the vacuum cleaner round and give everything a dust.

6. Do a safety check

This will hopefully be covered in the inventory check, but make sure that all locks work and that windows close securely. If you have any concerns, raise it with your landlord first.

As a house, you’ll probably have a fairly expensive collection of gadgets, so make sure you don’t forget this one.

7. Check smoke and CO alarms

Again, this will hopefully have been done before you move in but, for peace of mind, you might want to check them out yourself.

Make sure they’ve been installed where they need to have been, too. Remember: it’s the landlord’s responsibility to make sure there’s at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey; and a carbon monoxide one in any room with a solid fuel burning appliance (such as a coal fire, or wood burning stove).

For more advice on this… Which? is also giving away 1,000 CO alarms for free - find out why on the Trusted Traders website.

8. Sort out broadband

If broadband isn’t part of your rent price, you’ll be responsible for getting it sorted. It’ll be something you’ll want to sort out as soon as possible, as there are still sometimes waiting periods of several weeks for new broadband line installations.



Many broadband contracts last for 18 months, which is obviously no use if you probably won’t be living in the property for more than a year. We’d recommend narrowing down your search to either 12-month contracts, or monthly rolling deals which are much more flexible.

9. Register to vote

This is another slightly dry admin task but, again, it really doesn’t take long. If you aren’t registered to vote, you don’t get a say on who represents you - so make sure you take yourself to the register to vote gov.uk page.

And do you need to pay council tax? Find out by heading to Five things students need to know about tax.

10. Tell people your new address

Make sure your birthday cards don’t end up with a stranger - tell your friends and family where you’re living!

As well as loved ones, also tell any institutions that are in contact with you, such as your uni, bank, and mobile phone provider.

11. Decorate!

Once all the admin tasks are out the way, you can now focus on putting your stamp on your new home.



If you’re a music-lover, you might want to adorn your walls with posters of your favourite singers or bands. You could also put up photos of your friends and family, to help remind you to keep in contact with them - even during a stressful exam season.

12. Reassess your student budget

Unless you’re paying the exact same amount for rent, bills and transport, it’s worth taking the time to tot up all of your expenses to work out how much you have to live on.

Use our student budget calculator to find out how much average students spend on everything from accommodation and transport to clothes and going out, for your specific university.

Your rights as a tenant

If something goes wrong with your accommodation, or you have problems with your landlord, it’s worth knowing your rights to help you get things sorted.

Which? Consumer Rights has a range of articles that tell you what you need to do if a situation arises, including: For the full list, head to tenant rights on Which? Consumer Rights.

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