Bills are boring but they are a necessity of independent living. So, the first thing you should do when moving into a new place is to check the meter readings for gas and electricity. (Just take a photo of the meter.)

This will give you the evidence to ensure that you don’t end up paying for energy used by the previous tenants. The next thing to do is to check that you’re on the cheapest rates for electricity and gas. (By default, energy suppliers put you on their ‘standard rate’, and it’s often very expensive.) You can use a site like to find the best deal on offer. You will also want wifi in your new place. So, check out the best deals on internet service while you’re checking on other utilities. As for Council Tax, you’re almost certainly exempt from paying. However, you need to provide the local council with proof of your status as a student. Just download from Portico and send it to your local council. You’ll also need to register to pay water bills and your TV licence.

Finally, of course, it’s essential to consider personal safety for you and your housemates. Generally, London is  a safe city but it’s big and can be intimidating. So, take some simple steps to ensure that your property is secure and that you look out for each other, especially coming home late at night.

When you move in

  1. Read the inventory.
  2. Take lots of photos.
  3. Sort out your bills (meter readings!).

Reducing your risks

  1. Check area crime rates before you move in.
  2. Stay vigilant.
  3. Know how to get help if you need it.

If you have an assured shorthold tenancy (AST), your landlord should provide the following documents on or before you move in

  • Copy of the tenancy agreement

  • Check-in inventory & schedule of condition

  • Gas Safety Certificate

  • Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

  • ‘How to rent’ booklet