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At last, the big day has arrived. You can finally move out of your parents’ house or out of your first-year student halls and get a place of your own in university accommodation. It’s a big step in your life, and in most cases, it will be the first time you’ve had to fend for yourself away from home.

It can feel a weird mixture of exciting and a little daunting, but getting off to the right start can make all the difference. Even though it might be a bit of a whirl, meeting new people, moving into a strange house and getting to know a new area, it’s well worth stepping back and taking care of the details now, because they’ll bring huge benefits later.

Check the inventory

Before you start unpacking, you need to check the inventory against the actual stuff in your house or flat. If anything is missing, you should make a note of this and let your landlord or Lancaster student letting agency know as soon as possible. Also, if there is any damage to the furniture, or to the fixtures and fittings, you should take pictures and send these in as well. However, if you don’t check and examine the contents of your student accommodation when you move in, you could be charged for any loss or damage out of your deposit when you move out.

Read the meters

Although some university accommodation in Lancaster, such as LSL properties, include your utility bills, it’s still worth reading (and photographing) the meters on the day you move in. This will avoid any problems later if the bills are larger than your landlord expects. You will be able to prove how much electricity and gas you’ve actually used. If bills are not included, it’s vital that you take readings so you’re not paying for someone else’s energy bills.

Safety first

You may only have help from your friends and family for a couple of hours before they have to head back home, but don’t let the rush put your stuff at risk. Never leave your car or front door unlocked as you unload, because opportunist thieves know when students are moving in and are on the prowl for easy pickings.

Even if you’re careful, you should still make sure your stuff is insured. It may be covered by your parents’ home insurance, but it’s worth checking. If it isn’t, look for a company like Endsleigh who specialise in student insurance.

Do your paperwork

Having your own place comes with a fair bit of paperwork you’ve never had before, and the sooner you start, the better. Firstly, you need to inform people like your bank and credit card provider of your new address. You’ll also need to let the university know. If you’re paying your own utility bills, you’ll need to open up accounts with them. Make sure everyone in the house is on the bill, or if one of them leaves, you’ll have no way of chasing them for their share.

The good news is that you won’t have to pay poll tax if you’re a full-time student, but you need to let the council know of your horribly-titled ‘disregarded person’ status or they will send a bill. The bad news is that you will need a TV licence, even if you don’t watch telly that much. But don’t worry, you can pay monthly and when split between a bunch of you it’s only a few pounds a month.

Open your door

Once you’ve moved into your university accommodation and sorted out all the stuff above, it’s time to get to know your new housemates. Propping your bedroom door open will encourage everyone to drop in and say hello, and cooking a welcome meal for your housemates will make an even better first impression. You’ll be with these guys for a year or more, and some of them will become friends for life, so it’s worth making an effort to get off to a good start.

Now you’ve moved in, it’s time to venture out, so check out our next article about exploring the local area and getting the lay of the land. Visit Lancaster Student Lettings to find out more.