Moving House Checklist
Whether you are moving for the first time or the tenth time, renting or buying, moving your whole life to somewhere new is an exciting but stressful time. There are so many things to consider when you’re moving house; your mind is filled with thoughts about packing, setting up new bills and redecorating. But have you thought about the security of your new home? The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) reported that overall theft across the country has increased by 8% since last year and new homeowners are almost twice as likely to be burgled on average. Follow our handy moving house checklist to help you prevent the worst from happening.
Top 15 Steps for Home Safety
Follow our 15 Moving House Checklist steps that will cover the whole process from searching for a house, moving in and after you have moved in to ensure your safety in your new home.
- Research the local area’s crime stats. This is quick and easy to do by entering the postcode on the Police or UK Crime Stats websitehttps://www.ukcrimestats.com/. These sites will give you a general picture of how much crime has taken place in the neighbourhood.
- Visit the area during different times of the day. Doing so will give you an indication to the atmosphere of the neighbourhood. Look out for things such as adequate street lighting, loiterers and whether there is a ‘Neighbourhood Watch’ scheme in place.
- Chat to the neighbours. They’ll give you their personal opinion on the area, any helpful tips and most importantly if any crime has taken place within the proximity.
- Take a good look at the quality of the doors and windows, do they seem secure? Yes, these can be replaced but at a cost, so ensure you are prepared for any further outgoing payments if they need replacing.
- When looking around potential new homes pay attention to the driveway. A gravel driveway will give you indication if someone is approaching your home and deter burglars due to the noise it creates when walked or driven upon.
- Will the current owners/occupiers be leaving a pre-existing security alarm or system in place? If so, you will need to arrange for them to leave the details, the manufacturer, passwords, date of installation etc.
- Get insurance. If you’re buying a property you cannot exchange contracts without home insurance. Renting? Invest in contents insurance to ensure your belongings are covered should they be stolen or if an incident such as a flood occurred. Always read these policies in detail so you know you will be covered if you need it.
- The most important thing you can do on moving day is to change the locks. Keys are easily copied and lost and they could end up in the wrong hands. Your insurance may be invalidated if you don’t change the locks, you will need to check your policy. Call one of our Keytek® Locksmiths to change your locks; they will also do a free home security check to offer you the best advice. It is best to consult a professional Locksmith when changing your locks, as if you do it yourself, your locks may not be up to your insurance standards.
- Check out the condition of your garage or shed lock. If you will be storing valuable equipment in there it pays to ensure it’s secure from the offset. Keytek® Locksmiths carry a wide variety of locks on every call so if yours is not up to scratch they will advise and refit a new one for you, should you want it.
- It’s vital you always keep an eye on your boxes when loading and unloading the removal van. Try not to leave your belongings on the pavement; it would be too easy for a thief to pick up a box when no one is looking.
- One of the first things to do when moving into your new home is to put up blinds or curtains and keep your valuables out of sight. This will give you privacy and help to keep any burglars in the area away.
- Install outdoor lights. We recommend you install these so that the most high risk areas of your home are illuminated including, the shed, garage or gate door.
- A decent door lock will be hard to break into but you can add extra security to your door by adding a door chain, spy hole and letterbox guard.
- Check around the perimeter of your home. Are all the fences or shrubbery intact? Not only will you have more privacy but your home will be harder to access if there aren’t any gaps.
- Lastly, simply get into a routine of locking the doors and windows every time you leave and at night.
Moving into Rented Accommodation
It can be confusing to understand what you, the tenant, is responsible for and what the landlord is responsible for when moving into rented accommodation. Our Moving House Checklist will have helped make your home secure but it is important to know what landlords are required to do by law to ensure your safety whilst living in their property.
- The three key areas your landlord must check on annually are fire safety, gas safety and electrical safety to ensure everything is in working order. All electrical and gas items must be checked by registered electrical and Gas Safe technicians.
- You should be provided with an ‘Energy Performance Certificate’ (EPC), this will give you knowledge on how energy efficient the property is and will give you a better understanding on how much your gas and electricity bills will be.
- Provide working smoke alarms. They should be on at least every floor of the property.
- It is a legal requirement to have a carbon monoxide alarm in every room that contains a coal or wood burning stove. But it is recommended that landlords install carbon monoxide alarms in rooms that contain gas appliances also.
- ‘Fire Safe’ furnishings and furniture. Check the label when you move in to ensure they comply with fire safety regulations.
- HMOs or ‘House in Multiple Occupation’ need to be provided with a fire alarm and extinguisher if the home has at least three storeys or 5 or more tenants.
Moving House First Time Checklist
Congratulations, you’ve bought your own home! Moving home for the first time is a confusing experience, there is so much to do and organise. Our Moving House Checklist will give you the best tips on securing your new home but what else needs to be done?
- As you will have read, changing the locks is one of the most important things to do when moving home. Ensuring your safety from any potential burglars who may have an old key to your new property.
- Spring clean! Freshen up your new home with a good clean before you unpack everything, out with the old and in with the new.
- Make note of where all the important appliances are in your new home including the stopcock, gas and electricity meters, thermostat and fuse box. If your pipes burst you don’t want to be running around panicked not knowing how to turn the water off.
- Get organised with the bills. Contact the following people to let them know you are the new occupier and to set up any direct debits for your monthly bills.
- The Council- the amount you pay for your council tax depends on the value of a property. The council will send you a letter to inform you of your council tax band ranging from ‘A’ being cheapest to ‘H’ the most expensive.
- Water Supplier- you will receive two bills for water supply, one for fresh water and one for sewage.
- Electric and Gas Supplier- it’s worth comparing suppliers so you get the best deal.
- TV Licensing Company- you can choose to pay this monthly or annually. Don’t get caught without one as you could face a £1000 fine.
- Notify your bank, doctor, DVLA etc., of your change of address.
Changing the Locks when Moving House
Having the locks changed when you move house is a basic security measure most insurance companies recommend. However, a whopping 59% of people do not change the locks when they move house. If an intruder gains entry to your home with a key then most home insurance policies won’t pay out. This is because for most insurers there needs to be a clear sign of breaking and entering for you to make a valid claim.
Most insurers also require the property to have ‘British Standard’ locks installed; British Standard uses a kitemark to indicate that the lock has been certified by the British Standard Institution. A British Standard is the minimum standard that a product such as cylinder must be manufactured in accordance with before it is recognised by the relevant authorities as a quality product. If you have a lock fitted that does not meet these standards then you won’t get a payout. You can find out more about British Standards here https://www.bsigroup.com/en-GB/
When changing your locks it’s worth spending a little extra on the high security locks. Many people nowadays have a uPVC door with euro locks which are vulnerable to a break in technique called ‘Lock Snapping’. This is a common tactic used by burglars, upgrading your lock to a ‘Anti-Snap’ one is specifically designed to prevent this method of entry. A good lock purchase will meet the TS007 3 star standard, such as ABS High Security Cylinders.
Call Keytek® Locksmiths as part of your Moving House Checklist
There is nothing that can make your house 100% secure, but by taking some simple measures you can deter thieves. Look out for sturdy doors and windows or consider replacing them when they are old and worn. Having the locks changed is one of the BEST things you can do to protect your new home. Hiring a professional Locksmith to fit these is the only way to be sure that your locks are insurance compliant. Keytek® offer a free home security check with every job we do, so if you book us in for the day you move we can appraise your home and give you our best advice on how to keep the burglars away. Talk to the Locksmith about anti-snapping locks and any other doors you need securing such as a garage, gate or shed as our professional Engineers carry a wide variety of locks on every job.