Five Essential Utilities Items to Check Before Moving


5 Essential Utilities Items to Check Before Moving

House hunting is a complicated business, and for first timers to the world of property searching the whole ordeal can become overwhelming. You’ve probably had your parents on the phone telling you to check the rendering on the gable end wall, without telling you what a gable end wall (or rendering for that matter) actually is. Meanwhile, your posh housemate Arabella is insisting that the last 4 places you’ve found are ‘too common’, and Party Pete who agreed to live with you before Christmas hasn’t been seen for 3 weeks.

Amongst all this nonsense it’s easy to lose sight of what to look for, particularly in terms of utilities, which are a pretty unglamorous part of house hunting. However, finding out some key information now can save you a lot of trouble down the line; gas leaks, broken boilers and non-functioning central heating are issues that won’t seem so irrelevant if they happen to you. Let us help with 5 essential utilities items to check before moving in to your new house.


Gas Maintenance Certificate

This is a simple question that can be asked when you’re viewing a house – does the property have a recent gas maintenance certificate? Landlords must check this regularly, and a gas maintenance certificate means that the house probably won’t explode, which is always a positive. If the house doesn’t have one chances are you’re dealing with a bit of a wheeler-dealer landlord, and you’re probably best served looking elsewhere.



Another simple question to ask when you’re first looking around a potential property – how old is the boiler? Yes, it’s a little Karl Pilkington, but boilers really are important. Ask the question, and have a quick look if you can – you don’t need to be an expert to get a rough idea of a boiler’s age, as an old one will look like something from a second world war-era frigate. Newer boilers are obviously less likely to break, and will probably be a lot cheaper to run as well, so the benefits are obvious really!



This point goes hand in hand with the previous one, but finding out what sort of heating system the house has is equally worth knowing. While most places will have gas central heating, you may come across flats and houses that have electric storage heaters. Storage heaters can be tricky to get used to, as they need to build up energy before they can be used – and it’s harder to keep track of their usage if you’re not really sure what you’re doing. Make sure you know what you’re getting into to avoid excessive bills.


Check your Utilities Provider

This is a question for a little later on, once Arabella has finally compromised her ideals, you’ve found Party Pete, and you’re all ready to sign the paperwork. Ask your landlord what utilities provider they use, and if bills are included in the monthly rent. If they are included, you need to find out if there’s a limit before the landlord starts charging extra. This could do with being included in the tenancy agreement in case there is a dispute later on. If bills are separate it’ll be well worth finding out both the current provider, and what sort of money last year’s tenants paid for utilities, as you may be able to get a cheaper deal elsewhere.


Meter Readings

This final piece of advice is reserved for moving day. First things first, well done! You’ve found a house! Now, take heed, as this is important – make sure that whoever is first to move in takes a meter reading when they arrive. This will need to be submitted to either your landlord or the utilities company at some point, depending on who is paying your bills. It’s important to do this to make sure you’re not paying for the previous tenants usage. With all of this sorted, house hunting should be a doddle. Good luck!