Once the tenancy agreement has been signed, the deposit has been paid, and the first month's rent has been paid, the tenancy is yours. Landlords, or their representatives, will usually not release keys until the money for the deposit has been cleared in their account; this can take a few days.

Moving in

Ensure there is an inventory (a list of all the items in the property and the property's condition) and keep a signed copy. A good inventory can help reduce any disagreement later on. 

Establish where the gas and electricity meters are note down what the readings are. Ask the estate agent which companies are supplying the utilities.

Home utilities

Home utilities detail

Further detail

Council tax

Generally the local council will send a letter 'to the occupier' explaining council tax requirements. New tenants can also contact the council directly and inform them of the new tenancy. Tenants are responsible for ensuring they are paying council tax.

Students or people living alone may not need to pay the full council tax, and rates vary between councils and between properties. It is worth being aware of the different costs when choosing an area to live in by checking here. Additionally this map details council tax variations across the boroughs.


Rubbish and recycling

All local councils in the UK offer rubbish and recycling collection services. The days and frequency of these collections, and what can be recycled, is specific to the property's location.

Contents insurance

It is a good idea to have insurance, so that if personal belongings are stolen an insurance company will provide compensation. This covers the possessions kept in the home, and in some cases portable items as well. Always remember to carefully check what is included when choosing a policy.

There is also buildings insurance, which is for landlords or property owners and covers the structure of a property, for example, walls, windows, baths, toilets and roof.

Moving out

Either the tenant or the landlord can bring a tenancy to an end, but notice must be given to the other party. Tenants are legally obliged to fulfil the tenancy and pay the rent until the end of the agreement. A break clause defines whether the tenancy can be ended early and how much notice time is required.

Some landlords may release the tenant from the contract if a replacement can be found. A new tenancy agreement should be drawn up to change the responsibility for the property to the new tenant. Remember that despite complex legal requirements, if the landlord and tenant can come to an agreement that keeps them both happy the rules do not need to be followed strictly.