There are a few things that you will need to do when you collect your keys and in the first few weeks of living there.
One of the first things you should do is complete a thorough inventory. It is a record of the condition of the property when you moved in and can then be used for comparison when you move out to work out any charges for damage, so it is important to get it right!
Good inventories clearly display the property address and date of the inventory, and have a thorough list of the furniture (e.g. bed, sofa, desk), furnishings (e.g. light fittings, curtains, carpet) and condition of the room (e.g. paintwork, windows) for each room in the property. It is beneficial to have space for both the check in condition and check out condition to provide a clear comparison of the items. Shelter Scotland provide an app for iPhone users where you can upload photos and eventually email it to your landlord (you can use it for properties in England too!), or alternatively take a look at some samples such as this and this.
Try and take photos of any damage that show it in the context of the rest of the room - (Basically, dont just zoom in so close that you can't tell where it is!). Send everything to your landlord, but also make sure you keep a copy for yourself.
Meter Reading & Bills
If your rent doesn’t include your bills you will need to take meter readings to provide to your utility companies so they know where to start the bills from when you set up your account. They should already have readings from the previous tenants, so it should just be a case of setting up an account and confirming the current readings. More information about meters and bills can be found here.
Introduce Yourself to Your Neighbours
It's always a good idea to go and introduce yourself whether they are students or not. If you’re nice to them, they might even help you by keep an eye on the house if you’re all away at the same time - like Christmas vacation. Even if they are students, you should still say 'Hi' – You might even make some new friends.
Fuse Box and Water Stopcock
Knowing how to turn off the water supply or how to turn the electricity back on are important, particularly in an emergency. So ask your landlord where the stopcock for the water is, and where your fuse box is.
In Sheffield, the bins are collected on a four weekly basis, i.e. black one week then blue the next week, and the date yours is collected might be different to your friends in the same area. Your black bin is for your general waste, your blue bin is for paper and card and your brown bin is for glass, cans and plastic bottles. If you aren’t sure when your bin day is you can check on Veolia’s website here.
You aren’t required to have contents insurance but it may be advisable to get some, particularly if you won’t be covered on your parents’ home insurance. It provides cover for your personal belongings if anything happens to them and may also cover accidental damage. Make sure you check your policy carefully so you know what is included. You may need to top up your cover for more expensive items, such as your laptop or bike, or even take out separate insurance. Although Sheffield is a safe city, burglaries do happen but you can rest easier knowing your personal items are protected.