Moving Home, Collecting Belongings and Moving Out

Guild News - Moving Home, Collecting Your Stuff and Moving Out Guild News - Moving Home, Collecting Your Stuff and Moving Out

Private Housing Move In / Out

Updated 19.06.20

With many private housing contracts swiftly coming to an end, we’ve pulled together all the latest advice, guidance and information to help you move into and out of your properties. As Covid-19 is still a concern, along with all the great advice below, we strongly encourage you to make moving safely a top priority! 

We hope all of your questions are answered here, but if they’re not, check out the ‘who can I speak to for advice’ section to contact us.

 

Returning to a family home or other permanent residence 

The Government has amended the coronavirus (COVID-19) regulations to make clear that people who wish to move home can now do so. Current Government advice is not explicit to students who are moving out of private student houses. However, the following Government advice on moving during the covid-19 outbreak has been published here

It is not encouraged to move into any home where people have coronavirus or are self-isolating.

 

Advice on returning to a property and collecting your belongings  

Anyone involved in any aspect of the home moving process should practice social distancing in line with public health advice and you should avoid using public transport wherever possible. 

  • Contact your landlord / letting agent to inform them of your plans to return. We also recommend discussing (preferably in writing) the condition in which you should leave the property. Where you are unable to meet contractual obligations such as standard of cleanliness, this should be discussed with your landlord / letting agent. 
  • Communicate with housemates to create a staggered schedule for returning to the property. Returning on the same day as others is highly discouraged and should be avoided if it all possible. 
  • Attend the property alone where possible or restrict the number of people who return with you. 
  • Wash your hands regularly and wipe down all door handles and surfaces before you leave. 
  • Where the property is currently occupied, we encourage occupying housemates to vacate the property whilst removal of belongings from returning housemates is taking place. This is required to minimise contact with those not in your household. Where this isn’t possible, social distancing measures should be in place. Unfortunately, this isn’t a social opportunity – keep that online for now! 
  • Where the property is occupied, we also encourage inside doors to be kept open to avoid the need to touch them.
  • Aim to meet the property standards agreed with your landlord / letting Agent. You can discuss with housemates dividing of shared responsibilities like cleaning of communal areas. Remember to take photos or videos when you leave to avoid deposit disputes later on. 
  • Please ensure all household rubbish is not left in the property and is placed in the appropriate bin outside
  • Last year we saved over 1000 bags of unwanted belongings going to landfill with our Junkbusters campaign. If you have belongings that you no longer want, please don’t just bin them. Check out our unwanted items section for information on how to donate them instead. 
 

Permanently leaving a property and handing over keys 

  • Contact your landlord / letting agent to inform them of your plans to return and plan for the safe return of your keys. 
  • Check and double check that you have locked the property securely, including all windows, back and front doors. Unfortunately, empty properties can be a target for crime and while you are within the dates of your contract it’s your responsibility to ensure your property is secure.
  • Take final gas and electricity meter readings and share this with your utility companies to avoid being charged beyond your leave date. See financial obligations for more info.
  • Ensure you’ve met the cleaning standards of your tenancy agreement and take photos of the condition you’ve left the property to share with your landlord / letting agent at the earliest opportunity.

What to do with my unwanted items & household waste - how to dispose or donate!  

There are lots of options below to responsibly donate your goods and dispose of your waste, but if you get stuck email community@guild.bham.ac.uk and we’ll be happy to answer any queries.  

What do I do with my… 

Spare food, toiletries & sanitary products 

Donate to your local foodbank – you can find your local foodbank here or most supermarkets have a collection point near the entrance.

Local to Selly Oak or Bournbrook: 

  • Selly Oak Community Response to COVID – 19 – find out more about them here 
  • Deliver to Canvas House, 3A Teignmouth Road, B29 7BA on Monday, Wednesday & Friday between 1pm & 4pm. 
  • Or to arrange for items to be collected text 07984258454 
  • B30 Foodbankhttps://b30.foodbank.org.uk/
  • Accepting donations on Tuesdays & Fridays between 2pm – 4pm.
  • Blessed 2 Bless Community Project - a charity that helps feed the homeless and those that are struggling financially. They take food donations between 3pm - 5pm on Saturdays and can be contacted here.

            Bedding, electricals, household furniture, household items, clothes and more! 

Do good and save items from going to landfill at the same time. Some charities may be able to collect or have drop off points you can deliver to. 

You will need to check what charities are willing to accept, but we have listed some details below to help you out. This list is not exhaustive and there are many more fantastic charities in Birmingham.

  • Community Transport are able to take furniture donations, and in doing so ensure items are diverted from landfill. You can fill out a form with details of the furniture you wish to donate here.
  • St Mary’s Hospice Donation Station support and care for more than 500 people living with life-limiting illnesses across Birmingham and Sandwell. They are taking cookware, tableware and household goods, new or boxed electrical items, cameras and multimedia devices and clothes. 
  • The Wear and Share Project, a project helping Birmingham families and individuals who are struggling to obtain essential items, are able to take washed clothes
  • Spring Housing, a charity who help assist people on a journey away from housing need towards a future of stability, happiness and independence. They can take bedding.
  • New starts provide free furniture, emergency food and household supplies to families and individuals who are in greatest need either on low incomes or in financial crisis. 
  • Birmingham City Mission  distributes essential goods – food, clothing and furniture – to those in need. They can take non-perishable food items, clothing & bedding and furniture & electrical appliances.

What if these don’t work for me?

Try your Landlord / Letting Agent 

Talk to your landlord / letting agent about leaving your belongings. They may offer to responsibly remove them for you. Many Landlords / Letting agents have informed us that they would be willing to do this. Do not leave items before this has been agreed as charges can sometimes be deducted from your deposit for this reason. 

Donate or sell your items via swap & sell sites and apps 

There are many sites and apps where you can offer your items for free. We do not endorse any of these sites in particular and please be careful when sharing any personal details. 

Local Community Pages 

There are also local community pages, who may want your items or be able to point you in the direction of others who do! We do not endorse any of the following pages in particular, please be careful when sharing any personal details. 

Take it home

As Covid-19 is impacting on the capacity in which many services and charities are able to work it might be more difficult to donate your belongings. Can you take it home and dispose of it responsibly when things are up and running again?

What do I do with my household waste? 

  • Check when your rubbish collection day is here and make sure you’ve got your bins out on time. Bins can get very full as everyone moves out, so you need to give yourself plenty of notice to make sure you are utilising the weekly collection date. 
  • Fly tipping is not okay! You can be fined up to £50,000 for illegally dumping your rubbish, so it’s important you start thinking about your waste now. Get rid of it gradually over time so it doesn’t build up. Leaving lots of rubbish or furniture outside of your own property is also fly tipping.
  • Lifford Lane Household Recycling Centre has reopened, where you can dispose of bulkier items that may not fit in your household bin. Due to social distancing measures, if you wish to do this, you will need to make an appointment here
  • Speak to your landlord / letting agent to see if they can help you dispose of excess waste or unwanted items.

What to do if you cannot move from your home (E.G. if you are self-isolating)

  • From 13 May you can move home within England if you can do so safely. You must still follow public health guidance. You should not move home if you're self-isolating.
  • If you're at higher risk from Coronavirus due to health reasons, discuss the move with your GP first.
  • Where possible, don't sign a new contract or agree a tenancy start date until you're sure you can move in. Or, try to negotiate a new start date if you've already signed an agreement, so you don't have to start paying rent before you can move.
  • You may need to negotiate with your existing Landlord, or let them know if you can't move out by a planned date. Your current tenancy may continue as a periodic tenancy if your fixed term contract ends (we advise checking the terms of your contract).

 If you need any help in checking your tenancy agreement you can email Guild Advice (guildadvice@guild.bham.ac.uk). Landlords, agents, and tenants are advised to work together and show flexibility. Click here for further information.

 

Advice if you are unable to return to your property or return your keys before your contract end date 

Currently, there are no official Government guidelines in this area.   

We recommend contacting your landlord or letting agent to discuss potential flexibility in your contract or flexibility in collecting belongings. 

Tenants are protected by the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977, which says landlords / letting agents must take care of possessions for a ‘reasonable period’ – although this length of time isn’t defined within the legislation.

 

Shipping & Storage Companies 

Below are details of some local storage companies. You will need to contact them to make arrangements to store your belongings. There are other companies who also provide this service (we do not endorse any companies in particular) and so we recommend doing your research and finding the best option for your circumstances.  

Access Storage – Selly Oak

Seven Seas Worldwide 

Love Space

Financial Obligations 

  • Under current Government guidelines, landlords are under no legal obligation to cancel housing contracts if you decide to leave your property early. 
  • Ensure your rent payments are up to date unless you have agreed an alternative payment plan with your landlord / letting agent.  
  • Take final gas and electricity meter readings and share this with your utility companies to avoid being charged beyond your leave date. Remember to cancel any contracts with internet providers, TV services etc. Coordinate bill payments with your housemates. Please note, final bills can sometimes be higher than anticipated.

If you are in financial difficulty please email guildadvice@guild.bham.ac.uk for support.

 

Advice on safeguarding your deposit 

Typically to ensure you receive your full deposit back at the end of your tenancy you need to make sure that you have taken care of the property and are returning it in the same condition as when you took it on subject to ‘wear and tear’. 

We recommend taking photos or videos of the condition of the property when you leave and sharing these with the landlord / letting agent at the earliest opportunity. 

More information on deposits is available here.

Advice on requesting to use your deposit as final months rent

Some landlords are offering the ability for you to use your deposit as final months rent.

However, If a tenancy ends and there are outstanding arrears then your Landlord will usually recover these from your deposit. In some cases, a tenant(s) may agree with a landlord that they can take arrears from a deposit whilst the tenancy is ongoing.

It's not always advisable to do this, as a deposit is usually intended to cover damage and other potential liabilities to the landlord. Also, if the deposit is used to cover arrears earlier on, a landlord can still pursue a tenant if any other reason to arises.

Often it's better to wait until the tenancy is ending and resolve any monies owed to a Landlord at that point.

More information on deposits is available here.

The Government advises that while coronavirus (COVID-19) measures are in place home buyers and renters should, where possible, delay moving to a new house. However, if moving is unavoidable for contractual reasons and the parties are unable to reach an agreement to delay, people must follow advice on staying away from others to minimise the spread of the virus. It is not encouraged to move into any home where people have coronavirus or are self-isolating.

 

Moving into a safe property

This advice is provided by Unipol here

There is no specific Government advice for student accommodation.  However there was some advice issued on 15th May 2020 for decontamination in non-health care settings which states:

“The infection risk from coronavirus (COVID-19) following contamination of the environment decreases over time. It is not yet clear at what point there is no risk. However, studies of other viruses in the same family suggest that, in most circumstances, the risk is likely to be reduced significantly after 72 hours.”

So although it’s not mandatory for properties to be deep cleaned before new tenants move in, Unipol recommend an approach to landlords that takes in to account this guidance.  In any case it will be important to communicate any cleaning arrangements to incoming tenants in advance of the start of the new tenancy.  If you are intending to take up residence in your new accommodation from the first day of your tenancy it would be really helpful to communicate with your landlord so they can make plans to prepare the property for you.

For Students who are currently living at home and have the option to stay at home or delay moving into a new property, you may wish to do this at this time.

 

Advice on what to do first when moving into a new property

Get in touch with your landlord / letting agent to discuss the safe collection of keys and property access. 

Taking photos and videos, completing your inventory, setting up your rent payments and ensuing your property is safe and secure should be at the top of your priority list!

Fore more detailed information on the steps you need to take when moving into a new home click here.

 

Becoming part of a new household and visiting family / friends who are no longer part of your household

There is no specific guidance available as yet relating to students and moving home specifically. However, if you have permanently moved to a new property you should treat this as your ‘bubble’ or household.

This guidance here explains how you can now see people you do not live with, while protecting yourself and others from coronavirus.

We advise keeping up to date with the current social distancing guidelines. Please note, these may be subject to change over time. 

 

Worries around moving in or social distancing from people you’ve never met

It is understandable that Students may be worried about living together and how they will move in or social distance from people they have never met. The Government are currently encouraging all parties involved in house moves to be as flexible as possible over this period.

It is important that people should be prepared to delay moves, for example should someone become ill with coronavirus during the moving process or a person has to self-isolate. You should not expect to move into any home where people have coronavirus or are self-isolating.

For Students who are currently living at home and have the option to stay at home, you may wish to do this at this time. We advise keeping your Landlord up to date with your plans and if you are delaying moving in, you could see whether they can offer a later tenancy start date, reduced rent payment or a payment plan if this is something you would benefit from. Please note, any agreement should be confirmed in writing and are made entirely at Landlords’ discretion.

You can also read the Government’s Guidance on Moving During the Covid-19 Outbreak which you can access here.

We also advise regularly checking in with the University’s Covid-19 updates

 

Advice if you have concerns about paying your rent

If you have signed a rental agreement then it is your responsibility to pay rent as agreed. If you have concerns about paying the rent, you need to discuss this with your landlord as soon as possible.

Your rental/tenancy agreement will usually say how much rent you must pay and when you have to pay it. If you don’t have a written agreement, the amount of rent owed will be what you agreed with your landlord.

If you think you’re going to miss a rent payment, you should:

  • Check if you can get benefits 
  • Talk to your Landlord - you could ask for extra time to pay, but don’t say you’ll pay earlier than you think you’ll be able to

If you fall behind with your rent payments, you’ll be in ‘rent arrears’. Normally, your landlord might be able to evict you if you don’t pay your rent on time. However, due to Covid-19 all court action for eviction is on hold until at least 23 August 2020. During this time bailiffs won't evict you.

If you’re struggling to pay rent you could consider looking into financial support options that may be available to you.

You can read more about your rights when you rent from a private landlord here or if you are struggling to pay your rent and need advice contact Guild Advice – guildadvice@guild.bham.ac.uk

What to do if you cannot move from your home (E.G. if you are self-isolating)

  • From 13 May you can move home within England if you can do so safely. You must still follow public health guidance. You should not move home if you're self-isolating.
  • If you're at higher risk from Coronavirus due to health reasons, discuss the move with your GP first.
  • Where possible, don't sign a new contract or agree a tenancy start date until you're sure you can move in. Or, try to negotiate a new start date if you've already signed an agreement, so you don't have to start paying rent before you can move.
  • You may need to negotiate with your existing Landlord, or let them know if you can't move out by a planned date. Your current tenancy may continue as a periodic tenancy if your fixed term contract ends (we advise checking the terms of your contract).

 If you need any help in checking your tenancy agreement you can email Guild Advice (guildadvice@guild.bham.ac.uk). Landlords, agents and tenants are advised to work together and show flexibility. Click here for further information.

 

Living in private housing and the local area

Meet your Community Wardens

Your Community Wardens work for a safer, cleaner, greener community for all. We encourage all residents to get involved in, look after and feel proud of their local community.

The Wardens can help you make your community a better place to live by providing you with information, advice and contacts to help you resolve any issues or problems you may be facing. We can help you with:

  • Advice on living in a student community
  • Keeping your home safe
  • Damp, unsafe & unmaintained houses
  • Recycling & what to do with your waste
  • Rats & other vermin
  • Problems with your neighbours
  • Anti-Social Behaviour

Follow us on social media to stay up to date with our advice

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Talk to a peer about living in Selly Oak / Bournbrook and the surrounding areas

Community Wardens are offering pre-arranged phone calls or video calls if you’d like to have an informal chat with a recent Selly Oak and local resident. This is great for anyone who has questions about living in private rented student housing or living in Selly Oak and the surrounding areas.

Contact Community Wardens to arrange a call or email your questions – community@guild.bham.ac.uk

How can I be a good neighbour and member of the community?

As your tenancies come to an end, we are aware lots of you will be moving into new homes in Selly Oak and the local area. Due to lockdown restrictions, we are all spending more time than usual in our homes. It's important therefore that we are mindful and considerate of our neighbours, here’s how you can help! 

Be mindful of your actions

Please be considerate and ensure your actions do not disturb your neighbours. Though you may be excited to spend time with your housemates, remain aware of the amount of noise you’re making, including any music or television that is playing. Neighbours may still have work or children may attend school so keep noise to a minimum, particularly between the hours of 11pm and 7am.

Be a little tolerant

There will be more noise from children playing in their garden, or neighbours using this time to do some DIY, or fellow student houses catching up with their households. Try to be tolerant of a reasonable amount of increased noise, though if it becomes an issue, make sure to contact your Community Wardens – community@guild.bham.ac.uk

Be a good neighbour

Ask your neighbour if they need something during your trip to the shops. Whether your neighbour is vulnerable or not, if you're heading out to do some shopping, maybe you could pick up a few bits for them too!

Volunteer your spare time

It’s a great time to help your community. Selly Oak Community Response to Covid-19 are a great local group with volunteering opportunities to help those in your community. Find out more here.

 

Advice around concerns of other housemates not being clean or tidy

 There is no official guidance relating to this. However, if you feel comfortable in doing so, we advise that you try to discuss issues such as these as a household.

It may be that you could consider putting some guidelines in place within your household to ensure that the property is kept clean and tidy at all times. You could draw up a cleaning rota to ensure that everyone is responsible for contributing towards keeping your home clean and tidy. It is important that everyone works together during this difficult time to ensure that homes are kept clean to avoid the spread of Coronavirus.

Contact your Community Wardens community@guild.bham.ac.uk if you need any advice or support in this area

Who can I speak to for advice? 

Guild Advice: guildadvice@guild.bham.ac.uk 

Community Living: communityliving@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Community Wardens: community@guild.bham.ac.uk

Further information

Unipol – coronavirus: Students & Landlords

UoB Covid-19 updates

Government advice on home moving during the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak

 

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