Entangled finances aren’t just restricted to romantic partnerships – plenty of housemates and friends also find themselves needing to cut their ties with each other at certain points in their lives. For example, when you move out of a house share you may not think this would impact your finances, but have you considered the costs involved not only with the physical move, but other areas where your outgoings will also be affected? These will have a knock-on effect on your budget. Most importantly, always read your tenancy agreement in FULL before you sign it. If you haven’t, then you should do it now. There might be some nasties in there that could trip you up.
Before moving out you need to know whether you are sole or joint tenants. According to the Money Advice Service, if you are the sole tenant then anyone else living there is your guest. If you are joint tenants you are responsible for paying the rent until the tenancy agreement is altered.
You will need to order statements from your utility providers to work out what your share of the bills will be until the day you leave. Make sure your housemates agree with the way you have calculated it so that you don’t fall out over the small stuff. If you haven’t been using one already, there are some great apps out there to take the pain out of splitting the bills. This is the stuff dreams are made of – take a look at the app Acasa (formerly known as Splittable).
If you are moving out and you have had joint finances, it is important to check (and double-check) that the account has been closed. To be extra careful, always write to the credit reference agencies and ask for a notice of disassociation to ensure that you are no longer connected financially.
You will also need to make sure you are financially prepared to move into your new property:
- Make sure your contents are covered from the day you move in. You don’t want them being stolen as you transport them from the van to the flat – especially if you are not covered!
- Check your deposit is protected by a deposit protection scheme – this is now a legal requirement for landlords (and agents).
- You may be moving to a new place that you know you can afford, but have you looked into the cost of travel? If you are in a new area this could be very different to what you were paying before.
- Make sure you are 100% aware of what bills you must pay, e.g. is council tax included or are you obliged to pay this?
- It is always a good idea to save up whilst you are living in the property to have money set aside for your moving costs, e.g. hiring a man and a van.
- If your contract includes ‘joint and several liability’ then the landlord has the right to chase the remaining tenants for the shortfall in rent if someone does not pay their share.
Before you vacate your property it is important to know what your check-out obligations are, for example, you may need to have the carpets professionally cleaned, so check your tenancy agreement. This will ensure that you have the best chance of getting your full deposit back. You will probably want to take photos when you leave as proof that you left it in a good state to avoid any disputes. Your landlord must give your deposit back within ten days of getting it back from the tenancy deposit scheme.