Somewhere to call home
The first thing you need to do is to decide what kind of place you are looking for and where. Most young people find that they have to compromise at first and only get what they really want later on.
If you are under 35 and need help from housing benefit to pay the rent you’ll only be given enough money to pay for a single room in a shared house. This does not apply to council or housing association properties. Neither does it apply if you have been in care.
Location, Location, Location
It is worth taking a friend, family member or youth worker with you to look at where you are thinking of moving to and consider the following factors:
- what do they think of the place, and the area?
- how do you feel about it?
- would you feel safe in the area at night?
- is there a good bus service?
- if you've got a motorbike, bicycle or car is there anywhere safe to keep it?
- are there neighbours who are likely to complain about you making noise?
- is there a garden?
Filling your home
If you are thinking of moving into unfurnished accommodation, the following list suggests items you are likely to need to set up home:
- bed and bedding
- emergency equipment, e.g.torch, candles, matches, screwdriver
- floor covering
- knives, forks, spoons, plates and mugs
- iron and ironing board
- light bulbs and shades
- pots and pans
- tables and chairs/sofa
- wardrobe and/or chest of drawers
If you are moving into a furnished property you will still need bedding, towels and a TV/radio.
Finding furniture and other useful things
If you would prefer to take on an unfurnished property, you will have to find furniture from somewhere. Here are some suggestions:
- look for second hand furniture from charity shops, voluntary agencies, Impact Furniture Scheme and Oaklea Trust Furniture Scheme (see the Directory)
- ask family and friends if they have anything they do not need
- try to avoid buying new furniture or ordering anything on credit
- do not accept stolen goods
- do not wire up electrical goods yourself unless you know what you are doing
- do not accept a soiled mattress or faulty electrical goods
- be careful with second hand electrical goods
Cumbria County Council's Welfare Assistance Team may be able to assist in signposting you to services and help.
Moving your furniture and other stuff into your home
Ask friends and family who have cars to help with the move or better still someone who has a van.
Keep in touch
Some people you may need to contact when you move home:
- any firm or shop with which you have an account with or which has your address
- any training scheme
- benefits agency
- Job Centre Plus
- council Tax
- DVLA at Swansea if you have a driving licence, motorbike or car. If not you could incur a huge fine
- gas/electricity companies
- Inland revenue
- mail order companies
- social worker
- support agencies with which you are involved
- the Courts
- your bank and/or building society
- your employer
Gas, electricity and water
It is very important to take a gas and electricity meter reading when you move in and send it to the supplier. If you do not, you could end up paying the previous tenant’s or owner’s last bill as well as your own. It is also important to find out where the stopcock is. This turns the main water supply to the house on and off. Also make sure you find out how the heating system works and that you know how to turn it on and off.
There are two laws to protect you from harassment. This includes racial abuse, threats of violence from neighbours or a partner. It also includes grief from a landlord. Do not hesitate to call the Police if you need to. The Council can also provide advice or prosecute a bad private landlord who harasses you.
If you feel that you are being unfairly treated or not getting repairs attended to as required you can contact your Council, the Citizen’s Advice Bureau or Shelter. All the numbers are in the useful contact section.
Settling in to your new home
Keep in touch with people who can offer you support such as family and friends, social workers, support workers etc. But do not forget it is your home so make sure visitors treat the property with respect. Here are some suggestions:
- try to tidy up for people coming round. It will show that you care for your home and you want them to respect it too
- find out when the last bus is so you do not have unwanted overnight guests
- think about your neighbours, especially if your friends like to play loud music
- encourage your visitors to leave at a reasonable time
- let neighbours know if you are having a party
- try not to let friends move in or take over
- do not to allow drugs into your home
If you cause too much noise, allow drugs into your house etc, the police could become involved and you may lose your home.
Suggestions for stretching the £££ in your pocket
- try second hand shops, charity shops and car boot sales for clothes, books, CDs and household goods
- the library lends out books for free and charge a small payment for DVDs and CDs
- avoid buying items on credit or from mail order catalogues as they can be expensive and may lead to debt if you cannot pay them back
- telephone line rental is expensive, think about whether you will need one and can afford it
- if you have a mobile phone contact your supplier for the best deals
- food shopping can be costly so try and plan meals a few days in advance and use leftovers the next day or freeze them
- look out for cheap local shops, discount stores and supermarket own brands for big savings
- cut heating costs by using plug in oil filled radiators and halogen heaters instead of fan heaters and electric bar fires, which can be expensive to run
- use the heating as little as possible and keep it on a low setting when it is on
- do not heat rooms you are not using and turn the heating off when you go out
- use draught excluders around doors and windows to keep heat in
- baths use a lot of water so try to have showers instead if you have one
Energy efficiency advice is available on the Council’s website or by contacting The Housing Team on 01539 733333.
If you find it difficult to pay your bills, do not ignore them. Talk to someone such as the Citizen’s Advice Bureau about it. They can help you talk to the people you owe money to and work out ways of paying it off. Most companies understand about money problems, but they can only help if you let them know.