MOVING IN CHECKLIST
When you’ve set the date for moving in, you will have to arrange a lot of things so that the move goes smoothly. This checklist will help:
ELECTRICITY AND GAS
Final meter readings at current home. Have vendors arranged for final readings? Ask them not to have supplies disconnected. If supplies have been disconnected, arrange for them to be reinstated on moving-in day.
If you are taking your cooker with you, arrange for disconnection as near as possible to moving day, if possible at the same time as the final meter reading. Arrange connection of cooker in new home.
Arrange for final bill to be made up to the day on which you move out. If new occupants do not require the phone, arrange for disconnection.
Make sure that the line to your new home is not disconnected or, if a new line is required, arrange for installation as early as possible since there may be a delay.
Make sure that the vendors have requested a final bill.
If you are doing it yourself you will probably need to hire a van, and packing cases. Make sure that the van will be available on the day. If using a removal company make sure that they have confirmed the date and time of arrival at your present accommodation. New furniture for your home could be delivered on the day you move in, or soon afterwards. Check to see if this is possible.
WATER AND GENERAL RATES
If you already pay rates, let the local authority know that you are moving out. Advise your new Rating Authority that you will be the owner from the moving-in date.
You should let the following people know about your change of address:
Credit Card Company
Television rental company
Television Licence Authority
Vehicle Excise Authority
Driving Licence Centre
Vehicle Insurance Company.
Remember, for a small fee the Post Office will arrange to redirect mail to your new address. Ask them for the requisite form.
Now that the house or flat is yours you can think about moving in. There are obviously checks to be made, some of which may differ according to whether you are moving into a new building or an older property.
At least one week before moving in, arrangements should be made with the various services -electricity, gas, telephone, water and local authority – either to connect supplies or to give notification of intended occupancy, and the date of taking possession. At the same time, arrange for termination of whatever services applied at the previous address. Notification of your new address should be sent to friends, relatives and all necessary contacts, as appropriate.
If you are being moved by professional removers, try to obtain estimates from three different companies. Make sure that you know exactly what the estimate covers. For instance, if the removers provide insurance cover against damage or loss throughout all stages of the removal they may prefer to do all packing and unloading.
Depending on the amount to be moved, you may be able to cope with a small self-drive hired van – companies operating such services usually advertise in the local press. For a do-it-yourself move, be sure to organize yourself well in advance.
You may be able to hire packing cases along with the van. If not, collect some heavy-duty cartons — often, local supermarkets or stores are quite happy to let you have these if you can arrange to call when they have had an unpacking session. If packing breakable items, wrap them carefully and check that the bottom of the carton is strong enough to support the load. Label every box with its contents as you pack.
On removal day pack a large flask of tea or coffee or, alternatively, a kettle and teapot or a coffee percolator plus a saucepan, mugs, spoons and plates in one clearly labelled box, and in a second pack coffee, tea, sugar, milk, sandwiches, soup and other essential foodstuffs so that you 35 don’t have to search frantically for them on arrival at the new address.
Plan in advance where all furniture will be placed – or, at least, the heavier items. What an experienced removal man makes light work of may well prove rather too much for you to move again later. Make a room by room plan and label each item of furniture with the floor, room and position in which it is to be placed. This will save you a lot of time. Give the removers one copy and keep a second for yourself
Try to arrange for young children and/or family pets to stay with relatives or friends on removal day. It can be a tiring business and the fewer distractions for you the better.
Fixtures and fittings
On taking occupation you should check that any fixtures and fittings in the property or garden which were intended to remain have, in fact, been left at the property. If not, notify your solicitor without delay.
If the property is new the builders will usually want to be notified of any minor defects within the first few weeks of occupation. These will usually be put in order by the builders without charge. Any major defects should be notified to the National House Builders’ Council.
THE HOME OWNER AND THE LAW
Ownership of property carries with it certain rights against and obligations towards owners and occupiers of neighbouring property. It is not possible here to give an exhaustive list of the home-owner’s rights and responsibilities, but here are a few rights and obligations likely to be of practical importance to you; some are also likely to apply to rented property.
Be warned. Boundaries, their demarcation, ownership and repair can cause unnecessary friction between neighbours.
Many title deeds do not have a plan attached to them showing the extent of the property. If there is a plan, any measurements shown may have been recorded a number of years before and the physical boundaries may have changed somewhat since then. If your property is registered at the Land Registry, the filed plan – that is the plan at the Land Registry showing the extent of your property – will be on a scale of 1/1250. This is not very large and may not be of much assistance to you. It is only intended to assist the Land Registry in the identification of land.
Should a dispute arise with your neighbour over the position of a boundary fence or wall, a bit of common sense is required. The title deeds may well not resolve the dispute, particularly if it is only a matter of a few inches or centimetres. The only likely result of such a dispute will be wasted lawyers’ tees and, perhaps, protracted litigation.
If, following an examination of the title deeds, you discover that the boundary or boundaries of your property appear to be 36 in the wrong place, it may be too late to do anything about it anyway. Subject to certain requirements being satisfied, if the situation has persisted for at least 12 years then, under the Limitation Act 1939, title to the land in dispute may have been conferred on your neighbour. ;. Ownership. The title deeds may indicate which boundaries belong to you. The conveyance plan may have ‘T marks on the boundaries indicating ownership and this is a common practice on new estates. Some boundary walls and fences may be party walls or fences, belonging jointly to you and your adjoining neighbour.
It is customary to build brick walls and close boarded fences so that the ‘piers’ and upright supports are on the land of the owners. If they were not then a trespass would be caused by their positioning on a neighbour’s property. Accordingly, if the supports are positioned on your side of the boundary this is an indicator that the fence or wall belongs to you.
Ownership is clearly important where, for example, you wish to raise the height of a boundary wall. If the wall belongs to your neighbour or is a party wall owned jointly by you both then, generally speaking, you will only be able to raise such a wall with your neighbour’s consent. There are special rights and obligations concerning party walls in London under the London Building Acts. The District Surveyor in your local borough can advise you.
– Maintenance. The title deeds may indicate who is responsible for the maintenance of boundary walls and fences. As a general rule, if you own the boundary in question it is likely that if repairs become necessary the obligation will fall upon your shoulders. In the absence of any specific mention of a repairing obligation you may still be liable for injury to your neighbour or damage to his or her property resulting from the state of disrepair of a boundary wall or fence belonging to your property.
Rights of way
If you enjoy the benefit of a right of way serving your property, such a right may be restricted to pedestrians only or may include vehicle traffic as well. A right of way does not mean that you own the land over which the right of way passes but only a right to pass over the surface of that land. You may be responsible, perhaps jointly with others, to
THE LAST STAGES/RENTING contribute towards the upkeep and repair of the surface.
A right of way does not normally give a right to park vehicles on the land concerned in the absence of any specific mention of such a parking right being granted to you.
A ‘covenant’ is, in essence, an obligation contained in a deed. If you hold your property under a lease, this will contain various covenants both to pay the rent and any service charge and also covenants which prevent you from carrying out any alterations or additions to the property without the landlord’s consent, regulating the use that can be made of the property and stipulating that various rules made by the landlord as to common amenity areas should be observed. Always ask your solicitor to supply you with a copy of the lease and keep the copy for future reference.
Where you are the freeholder there may be covenants restricting the erection of new buildings without the consent of a neighbour or restricting you from parking a caravan at the property. Sometimes these covenants were imposed many years ago. Your solicitor will be able to advise you whether they are enforceable against you. Obviously, it is in the best interests of all concerned that relations between neighbours are amicable, and it is always best to discuss any possible areas of contention before they get out of hand. Legal proceedings are costly, can be protracted and, even if you win the case, you’ve probably let yourself in for a ‘cold war’ that could continue indefinitely. Not a pleasant prospect.
Unlawful interference with a person’s use or enjoyment of land, or some right over or in connection with land may constitute a private nuisance. As is probably well known, if the branches of a neighbour’s tree project over your land you are entitled to lop off the offending branches without reference to your neighbour since the branches will be causing a trespass or a nuisance. But do raise the matter with your neighbour beforehand and don’t forget to return any fruit or other produce hanging from the branches because you must not appropriate what is severed.
Stenches, smoke and the escape of effluent may amount to a private nuisance. However, the law does not take into account abnormal sensitivity and it would be very difficult to obtain any legal remedy to restrain a nuisance which is temporary and occasional only.
It is perhaps worth mentioning here that the lighting of fires in the garden is normally the subject of a local by-law governing the hours when the fire can be lit. Your local authority should be able to advise you about any by-laws affecting your particular area.