Once the tenancy agreement has been signed, the deposit has been paid, and the first month's rent has been paid, the tenancy is yours. Landlords, or their representatives, will usually not release keys until the money for the deposit has been cleared in their account; this can take a few days.
Ensure there is an inventory (a list of all the items in the property and the property's condition) and keep a signed copy. A good inventory can help reduce any disagreement later on.
Establish where the gas and electricity meters are and note down what the readings are. Ask the estate agent which companies are supplying the utilities.
Home utilities detail
In the UK, a majority of healthcare services are free at point of use and funded through government taxes. Private healthcare is also available, typically through insurance schemes. When looking for an area to live, you should consider what type of healthcare you expect to make use of, and the proximity of relevant centres and practices.
National Insurance Number
Raising a National Insurance Number
Your NI number is essential as a UK employee (but note, PhD Students receive a stipend rather than a salary which is tax-free and so a NI is not required unless expect to work outside of your PhD Programme). You can apply for a National Insurance number if you:
- live in the UK
- have the right to work in the UK
- are working, looking for work or have an offer to start work
You can start work before you receive your National Insurance number, if you can prove you have the right to work in the UK (e.g., your Visa).
However, the Crick advises you to get your NI number as soon as possible – and ahead of your first paycheck – to ensure you are taxed correctly.
This can be done via the Government link here. Lead times vary but the Government advise around 4 weeks.
Even if you are not British you may be able to vote in some elections, such as if you are an EU or Irish citizen. You can register to vote here, and remember to bring a valid form of ID to the polling station.
Either the tenant or the landlord can bring a tenancy to an end, but notice must be given to the other party. Tenants are legally obliged to fulfil the tenancy and pay the rent until the end of the agreement. A break clause defines whether the tenancy can be ended early and how much notice time is required.
Some landlords may release the tenant from the contract if a replacement can be found. A new tenancy agreement should be drawn up to change the responsibility for the property to the new tenant.