What To Do After Getting The Keys

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Congratulations! You’ve got the keys to your new home. The weeks and months of waiting have been worth it. However, nobody really tells you what to do next.

You need to make sure numerous things are in place and notify numerous people about your move. While some are more urgent than others, ultimately all need to be done, the sooner the better.

In the meantime, you might want to set up a redirect for your post to ensure you don’t miss anything.

Consider changing the locks. You can’t be sure who has keys to the property. Various tradespeople, as well as friends and family, might have been given spare keys by the previous owner. Change your locks to make sure you are able to control who has access to your home. A locksmith can do this for you or you can try to do it yourself.

Gas and electricity

The first thing you need to do once you receive the keys is take the gas and electric meter readings. (Water, too, if applicable). This is so you can set up your accounts and only be billed for the energy you use. Take a photograph of the meters. The date-stamped versions will be useful if the supplier queries the opening reading.

The meters may be housed separately. They will be in special waterproof cupboards if they are outside. If they are inside they will be in in-built cupboards usually at the bottom of the stairs or in the hallway. You may need a special meter box key in order to access them. The seller should have left this for you. If they didn’t the keys are cheap to replace and tend to be of a universal size.

Most likely, the meter will be a smart meter or a credit meter with a dial or digital number panel. You pay monthly or quarterly for your energy consumption. The alternative is a pre-payment meter that needs ‘topping up’ with money as and when needed via a smart key or card. You can’t take a reading off a pre-payment meter. A smart meter will send readings to the supplier automatically, so you don’t have to. You will, however, still need to contact the supplier to set up your account.

The previous owner will have told you who the existing gas and electricity supplier is. If you aren’t sure, use the Find My Supplier service for gas and contact your Local Distribution Centre for electricity.

Contact the supplier either online or by phone. It is best to notify them as soon as possible of your new occupancy. When your account is first set up, you’ll probably be put on a standard tariff, but if you want to switch, you can shop around. Your supplier should be able to assist you if you wish to change your pre-payment meter.

Council tax

Council tax is paid to the local council by every non-exempt household within its jurisdiction. These funds support services such as bin collection, schools, libraries, parks, and public spaces, as well as local police, fire, and rescue departments. There are usually ten payments a year (with no payments in February and March). Payments can be spread over the full twelve months if you need them to be cheaper.

If you don’t know who your local council is, find out here. You can often notify them of your new address and council tax responsibility online. If you live alone or with exempt individuals, like students, you may receive a discount.

It is crucial for you to arrange for council tax payment since the previous owners will notify the council when they leave the property. If a payment becomes due and remains unpaid for seven days, the council will send a reminder to the house. After a reminder is sent, they can ask for the full year’s council tax up front and take you to court for non-payment. The amount you owe could be taken from your wages or benefits, or bailiffs could seize your property.

Should the court find that you have no good reason to avoid paying, you could end up getting a three-month prison sentence.

Check when bin day is. Once you unbox your things, you will probably have a lot of packaging to collect. The previous owners might also have left bins full of their rubbish. You don’t want a build-up of waste or recycling! Use this site to find out when you can expect the rubbish to be collected. All you have to do then is remember to put the right bin(s) out!


We all need water! Your water supplier is responsible for a continuous supply of water that is safe to drink and of an adequate pressure. Often, they are responsible for sewerage as well, ensuring that dirty water, such as that from a toilet or sink, is safely removed.

It is not possible to choose your water supplier, unlike with gas and electricity. If you need to find out who supplies your area, click here. It may be possible to contact your new supplier online to inform them of your move.

Phone, TV, and Internet

Nowadays, setting up a home phone line, TV service, and internet connection is pretty urgent, especially if you work from home.

The previous owner should have already told you who the current phone and internet provider is. To check, plug a phone into your landline and dial 150 – this should connect you to the customer service team at the company that supplies your landline. The majority of companies use BT lines, with Virgin Media being an exception. You may have to pay for an engineer to come out and change your phone line if Virgin is your current provider and you don’t want to use them.

If you had a TV service, phone line, or internet from your previous house, contact them to see if they can move your account.

If they can’t or if this is your first home, shop around for a deal. Please note that broadband may take a couple of weeks to be activated.

You need a TV licence if you plan to watch or record live programmes, or if you plan to download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer. This could be on any device, including a TV, desktop computer, laptop, mobile phone, tablet, games console, digital box or DVD/VHS recorder. Notify TV Licensing of your new address here or, if you don’t need a licence, inform them here.

Change of address

There will be numerous companies that need notifying about your change of address. View our checklist here.

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