You should book your removals well in advance. If you are completing on a Friday – which is traditional for home moves – you may find that all the available slots have already been taken. So, check with your intended removal company just before you exchange contracts that they have availability on the proposed completion date, then immediately book the date when exchange takes place.
Removal companies offer very little in the way of compensation for damage they do, and they don’t carry much insurance either. For instance, many companies try to impose conditions under which you can only make a claim for anything lost or damaged if you notify the loss within an extremely short period.
When insurance is provided, it is often limited to a relatively small amount, which is hardly worth having if an antique vase or your plasma TV is damaged. They only need a van and a Yellow Pages entry to be in business. There are many sharks who may let you down and then fall back on terms of business which get them out of responsibility.
So, only use an established reputable company. There is a British Association of Removers whose telephone number is 0208 861 3331 who can recommend removers in your area.
If you want to handle the move yourself, some companies will rent you the van, the equipment, and the boxes. They will want to check your driver’s license. The largest van you can hire without an HGV licence is a 7.5 tonne box van. So, you need to work out whether you can get everything into it in one go, or in an acceptable number of trips.
What you leave or take
You should check that you have left everything which was in the ‘contents, fixtures and fittings’ list you completed before exchange of contracts, or which were listed in the sales particulars or the contract as being sold with the property. You should also be aware that there are some items which you are obliged to leave, even if they’re not individually itemised, because they are deemed to form part of the property.
This generally means anything permanently fixed to the property. So, you can’t take away cupboards or shelves which are screwed into the walls, or clearly designed to fit a particular space. You can take non-fitted, freestanding units (unless they were stated to be included in the sale, as above).
Apart from that, your obligation is to give ‘vacant possession’ which means a property clear of all items not included in the sale – including rubbish. If carpets were not included, you are meant to take them up and remove them, but it is always worthwhile checking this with the buyers before completion, since they may want carpets left, which will save you a lot of trouble.
Cats and dogs are territorial animals and your home is their territory. So, it will be a traumatic for them to move to a new property. There will be a tendency for them to go and look for their old territory. So, at least for the first few weeks have them wear collars with name tags with your contact details.