Living in Private Housing 

When you collect the keys for your new house:

Take photos of every room, especially anything not in a good, clean condition. This is evidence of what the house was like when you collected the keys - you’ll need this later if you have problems getting your deposit back.

If there are any problems, inform the landlord or agent in writing. List exactly what’s wrong and give a deadline for it to be sorted. Emailing this is best so you have proof.

Check that your house has bins. You should have a range of different bins - check with your town or city council advice to make sure you use the correct bins. Also make sure that each bin has your house number on it – if it doesn’t, paint it on.

Remember to take meter readings on the day you collect the keys. Contact your gas and electricity providers to give them the meter reading and ask them to put the names of all the tenants on the bill, so you’re jointly responsible.

Meet your neighbours. Just pop round and say hello. You’ll be living side by side for at least a year so it helps to get off to a good start.

Moving Out

Your landlord should have provided you with a checklist when you moved in detailing the condition of the property. Before you leave you can use this list to remind the landlord of anything that was in a poor/broken condition before you moved in. It’s also worth photographing your entire house when you leave, with the date set on the camera. This provides you with evidence of its condition, which can be used in case your landlord tries to charge you for any unnecessary repair or cleaning work.

At the start of the year your house deposit should have been put into a ‘tenancy deposit scheme.’ The schemes:

•Allow tenants to get all or part of their deposit back when they are entitled to it.
• Make any disputes easier to resolve.
• Encourage tenants and landlords to make a clear agreement from the start on the condition of the property.

There are two types of tenancy deposit protection schemes available for landlords and letting agents. All schemes provide a free dispute resolution service. If you’re unsure about who your deposit is protected with, just ask your landlord who should be happy to help