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 uSwitch.com 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.

Thinks to think about when moving in


A list of what is in the house and what condition it is all in. used at the end of the tenancy to check that you haven’t damaged anything.

The landlord may take a professional one, but if not you can download our template so you can be sure there are no disputes at the end of your tenancy.

If anything goes wrong, even if it’s minor, it always god to report this to your landlord or property managers so they can fix it and so they can’t claim that damage against you at the end of your tenancy.

Council tax:

As a student you are more than likely exempt from paying any council tax. You just need to download your statement of student status from portico and send it off to the local authority.

You may have an issue if you are graduating this year, or if you share your flat with non-students (who are not eligible for council tax exemption). You can talk to the University of London Housing Service for advice on this, to see if you are still eligible to not pay council tax.

TV licence:

You’ll need a TV licence if you are planning on watching live TV – even if this is on your laptop or phone. You can go online to the TV Licencing website and apply for your licence there. I there’s a group of you then you can split this and t can work out quite cheap.

Setting up your utilities:

Your utilities are your gas, electricity, water, and internet. It is up to you as tenants to set these up and pay for them, unless your landlord says they are included in the rent.

If you are paying the utility bills, you are entitled to change supplier to get the cheapest tariff possible. Even if it means that an energy meter needs to be changed/installed. As the bill payer, you are entitled to also change whether you pay via direct debit (a payment per month/quarter) or by prepayment meter (a card/stick that you top up in a local shop). You can use price comparison tools online and save lots of money.

Monthly meter readings are sent to the energy company to ensure they are charging you the right amount. If you forget to do this then the company may estimate your energy usage for that month and it could end up being a lot more than you expect. On this topic, you’ll need to take meter reading at the start of your tenancy and at the end. This means you only pay for the energy that you use during your tenancy.

Reducing your risks

London is a big city and can seem intimidating to some. While there isn’t a high crime rate at UCL in general, we are based in Central London things do happen in and around the campus and incidents are more likely to happen when students aren’t vigilant or aware of the risks they may face.

When you are moving out of halls and moving potentially to a new area we’d suggest seeing what the new area is like before you commit, this would include whether or not you feel safe and that there is a well-lit route home for you to take at night.

Things to consider when out in London:

  1. Phone snatches or bag snatches –Use your phone as little as possible when you are out and about. If you do need to use your phone, use it close to your body and away from the road and be aware of your surroundings.
  2. Bike thefts – ensure that you lock your bikes properly using a D-Lock and try not to leave it unattended for too long.
  3. Personal safety – if you are planning a night out plan a safe route home, only use licenced cabs, keep you valuable close to you and hidden, and if travelling by foot walk in well-lit areas and with your friends where possible.

What to do in the event of a crime:

If you are away from UCL campus and you are victim of crime:

  • Call 999 if a crime is happening there and then.
  • Call 101 to report a crime that has already happened.

If you are on campus and you are victim of crime:

  • Call UCL Security on 222.
  • Find your nearest security guard.

See more personal safety tips on the UCL Security website.

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