• Hannah

moving house as a young adult.

Daynah, a 20-year-old mother of a 5-month-old, tells fully grown about her experience moving into rented housing.

Firstly, allow me to introduce myself and my situation. I recently moved to a two-bed rented new-build house in Wiltshire with my partner and 5 month old baby. Before moving to my current house, I lived in four different places with my partner in the two years we’ve been together. We worked in hospitality and had live-in jobs, (where you receive accommodation in lieu of wages or a similar agreement) which are fairly common in this sector. The landlord often allows staff to occupy the premises for a number of reasons, including the convenience of having staff on hand for emergencies & unsociable shifts and the added security (sometimes legality) of having someone present at all times. The jobs are generally casual and not overly secure.

This is part of the reason we needed to find a place of our own when I fell pregnant. Staff accommodation is kind of similar to university halls in the way that the bills are usually arranged by the landlord and are usually not in the employee’s name, the accommodation often comes fully furnished too (I kept a lot of things that I didn’t have room for at my mums during this time). The downfall of having this type of casual agreement means that I did not have proof of address or utility bills to support my financial situation, allowing me to gain credit, for example.

The actual process of packing and moving took a lot of time and we were luckily to have family on standby to help. Because we were living in staff accommodation before, we had things and furniture in storage at our parent’s house’s, so we moved our things from three places into one. We moved everything over a weekend and then began to unpack. I think it was helpful to get everything moved in at once, so that we knew how much stuff we had before we started putting it away, to make the most of the storage we had. If we had slowly moved a little at a time from our parent’s house’s we might not have kept enough empty space.

The other thing that I wasn’t prepared for was how to arrange our furniture, as it was a new-build and, although we were given a site plan, we didn’t actually see the property. I had ideas in my head of the layout, and I measured big things like the sofa and bed to try and work out how we would arrange them. It turns out you really have to live in a space before you find out what works. We rearranged our living room three times before we finally felt like we got it ‘right’ so it’s really important to be mindful of this if you’re buying big items.

Now that I’ve moved, I’m renting from a housing association, and we have a contract and rent statements for our new property so we’re in a much more secure and comfortable position. Social rent is a bit more secure than private rent, once we have finished our probation period we should be offered a lifetime tenancy. For now, we have fair notice periods and of course all of the bills are in my name. This seemed quite daunting at first, as I didn’t want to fall behind on anything and hadn’t had this type of responsibility before, but I made a list of everything that I needed to arrange, and it became second nature.

Some things do take a while to get up to date with, such as council tax which runs April to April often paid over only 10 months (Feb and March not requiring payment). Because we moved into a new build property, I had to contact the council to determine our council tax band and issue us a bill, this meant that by the time we received the first bill, we were two months behind, leaving us to pay 5 months’ worth of council tax over 2 months. Luckily, this was something I had accounted for and although we weren’t paying it out, I had put money aside for council tax each month so that when our bill arrived, we could afford it.

My partner and I use one account for all of our rent & bills. I manage this account as I have set up a lot of the online utility accounts, so I feel comfortable with our outgoings. We both have separate bank accounts too and from these we pay in a set amount of money every month and I check over the outgoings. We have a little extra, just in case a payment needed to be taken early or our payments were delayed. This means that we shouldn’t have any problems with our outgoings, or fall into an unarranged overdraft, which could incur fees.

It’s important to only share money or open a joint account with someone that you trust, as transferring money is the same as sending cash, if things went wrong you wouldn’t be reimbursed. Another thing to be very mindful of is that by opening a joint account with someone, your finances become linked. This means their potential bad credit can affect your own credit rating, which might stop you from borrowing money in the future.

Moving has been a longer process than I expected, aside from packing & unpacking, there’s a lot of paperwork to do too. I started the ‘admin’ about a week ahead of the physical move date, and I’m still tying up loose ends now. I have had to make manual payments whilst waiting for direct debits to be set up, so there’s been a bit of work required to keep everything running smoothly. I feel like finally now, after 3 months, things are starting to fall into place and I’m getting used to our outgoings. Of course, with all this responsibility also comes huge excitement and it’s really lovely to be settling into a place that feels like it’s ours.

five things to keep in mind during a house move.

1) Make lists! I found it really useful to write down my thoughts around what needed to be done and the deadlines. This meant making to-do lists so that I knew nothing was being forgotten. It’s so easy to overlook small things in such a busy time. This could mean writing a checklist of everything you need to do before moving day, like packing & paying any upfront costs.

2) Pack strategically. One of the biggest parts of moving is packing & unpacking. I packed the less reached for things first, like books and DVDs, that I knew I could manage without for a while and packed the plates and cutlery last. I also packed an overnight bag with a couple of changes of clothes so that if I didn’t get round to unpacking everything I would have what I needed for a couple of nights

3) Label things! Once each box is packed, label it in as much detail as you can, including the contents and where it needs to go (e.g., towels, toiletries and cleaning products - upstairs bathroom). This means when you come to unpack you won’t need to search through boxes and boxes to find what you’re looking for! It also means if you’re lucky enough to have someone help you move, they can put each box in the correct room.

4) Don’t make any major decisions until the house has been ‘lived in’. I think this is a really important one, it’s great to have an idea of the layout or a potential new sofa. However, you might change your mind as you settle in and try out different options. Don’t be afraid to try out different things and make changes before you find what works!

5) Be prepared. Arrange anything beforehand that you will need soon after moving in like white goods (if you’re buying new) or arranging Wi-Fi installation. Some of these things can take weeks, and if you leave it until the last minute you might end up paying a lot more than necessary!

Daynah Owen

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