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10 things to do before moving into your new rental property

By George Hadgelias

They say failing to plan is preparing to fail – and perhaps nowhere is that truer than in the world of rental properties. 

Failure to think ahead could see you moving into a cold, internet-less property that’s vulnerable to burglary.

To make sure that doesn’t happen, here are ten things to do before moving into your new rental property.

1. Organise connections

Ensuring the property will have electricity, gas, a working phone line and internet connection on moving day should be your main priority, according to LJ Hooker’s head of property investment management Amy Sanderson.

As soon as your lease has been signed, you should get the ball rolling. Use the time between signing the lease and and moving in to organise your utilities, so that the property is set up by the time you step through the door.

Make sure that you also remember to disconnect the utilities in your old home, timing the contract end dates for the day of your exit.

2. Change address and redirect mail

While snail mail seems antiquated to some, it’s important to update the relevant organisations about your change of address, and to redirect mail, to ensure nothing gets missed.

“This is very important to understand, especially for younger tenants, who largely live paperless,” says Sanderson.

“Once you have committed to a move, take note of what ‘snail mail’ you receive; this will create the start of your re-direction list.”

3. Inform friends and family

Social media and text messages are the way to go here, but you should be mindful of your privacy, Sanderson advises.

“I think most people would have at least one ‘friend’ on social media who they don’t mind connecting with in the cyber landscape, but wouldn’t want dropping in for a random cup of tea,” she says.

“When announcing your new details, be careful of exactly how far your announcement is going.”

4. Arrange contents insurance

Getting insurance is one of the most commonly overlooked issues for renters, Sanderson says.

“If there is a burst pipe, for example, tenants incorrectly assume the landlords’ insurance will cover their own personal belongings,” she says.

Different policies cover different items, so you’ll need to read through the small print to work out which one offers you the most appropriate coverage. Unfortunately, that’s not always the same as the cheapest option.

5. Agree on how to split bills

In share houses, agreeing to who pays what bills is key, and should be done before moving day, Sanderson says.

As well as the financial split, housemates should also agree on a few other ground rules, such as when it’s appropriate to entertain visitors, who will provide the communal furniture and how the cleaning duties will be distributed.

“Settle these important points of share-house living before signing a lease. Set all the expectations and agreements before the removalist shows up,” Sanderson advises.

6. Plan what will go where

Label boxes as per the room they’re intended for, as this will make it much easier for the movers and yourself when you get around to unpacking.

A methodical approach to packing and unpacking will save a tremendous amount of time and frustration.

7. Arrange care for children and pets for moving day

It’s best to have someone watch any children and pets on moving day.

Children – and pets for that matter – need to be entertained and attended to, and can really drag out the moving process.

“You don’t want a pet or a child running or chasing a ball into the road because you’re distracted with making sure breakable belongings are carefully handled, or you’re caught up with deciding where to place a couch,” Sanderson says.

8. Get it clean

While a good property manager will ensure a property is ready for its new occupants, many tenants choose to do a thorough clean – either themselves or by a professional – before they start living at their new address.

“This is primarily for peace of mind,” Sanderson says.

9. Get spare keys cut

You will be provided with a set of keys to the property for each tenant named on the lease, but you can cut spare keys if you wish.

If you want a duplicate security door key, you will need to request one from your agent or landlord.

10. Do the paperwork

Take your property condition report with you, so that you can mark items off and add any important observations during your initial tour of the property.

Record as much detail as you can, because, when you vacate, your bond refund is determined by a comparison of the property’s condition against the entry report, less wear and tear.

Sign off on any changes and provide a copy to the property manager, Sanderson advises.

“Remember to keep a copy for yourself, along with your lease agreement and file it in a secure place to ensure it doesn’t get lost.”

It’s good practice to take photos for the property condition report, too.

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