Cost of moving house when renting

The cost of moving house when you're renting

There is often a big stigma attached to renting. We grit out teeth as the money seems to simply disappear out of our bank accounts each month.

However, it also gives you freedom and flexibility.

With tenancies often running for a year or two, you have the ability to move around and find where suits you best. When your tenancy ends you could jump from London to Bristol (or Bali, if you’re feeling tropical) without being tied down by a mortgage. (Check out 'Is it better to rent or buy in the UK')

But, there is a drawback: the cost of moving house is not cheap.

And it’s easy to get caught out. When looking for a new place to live, we often make the mistake of only focusing on the price of rent, and ignoring the other costs.

After a neverending property hunt, trawling through page after page of too small, too expensive, too not-quite-right properties, you’ve found the perfect place. It has a bright, spacious kitchen, a garden (a garden!) and the location is spot on.’s at the very top end of your budget. A budget you've already worked out, of not check out 'How much rent can you afford?'

Before you make a decision, there are a few other factors to think about that might dent your bank balance. Big and small, they all add up. Combining hefty deposits, removals and setting up fees, the average cost of moving house is often in the thousands. Yes, thousands.

So, to help you see the big picture and make an informed choice, here’s a rundown of the costs.

Cost 1: Deposits

One of the first things to consider when working out the cost of moving home are the deposits. There will be two: the holding deposit (to reserve the new property) and the main deposit (to secure it).

The holding deposit normally costs the equivalent of one week’s rent. The main deposit is significantly more chunky, often costing the same as 6 week’s rent (or sometimes even more).

Legally, your deposit should then be held by a government authorised protection scheme for the duration of the tenancy. When you move out, you should then contact the landlord or letting agent and request the deposit back. If all goes to plan you should receive the money within 10 days.

However, this can take longer if there are disputes over deductions. Money will be taken off your deposit if you caused any damage that is above and beyond normal wear and tear.

Therefore, everytime you move house you run the risk of your deposit money being chipped away. To prevent this from happening, have a read of our ‘20 top tips on how to keep your rental deposit.’.

On top of this, it’s unlikely that you’ll receive your old deposit back before having to fork out for the new one. As a result, it’s not the best idea to rely on the same pot of money, so make sure you have enough in the bank before you sign the tenancy agreement.


Cost 2: End of tenancy cleaning

One of the main causes for deposit deductions and disputes is the end of tenancy cleaning. So, much sure to factor this in when figuring out how much it will cost to move house.

No matter how long or little you’ve lived there, the property will be in need of a serious deep clean. You can either hire a professional cleaning company or do it yourself. And there are pros and cons to both.

It’s significantly more expensive to pay to have the property cleaned, however it is a big time-saver. On top of that, if the landlord tries to knock money off your deposit because the clean ‘wasn’t good enough’, you have a receipt to show them otherwise.

If you do hire a cleaning company make sure to shop around to find the best deal, and check that VAT and cleaning supplies are included in the final quote too.

If you decide to save money and do the cleaning yourself, have a read of our ‘End of Tenancy Cleaning Tips’.


Cost 3: Transport

If you don’t have a car, you might need to factor hiring a van or a removal company into your costs.

If you or a friend are a confident driver, you could get hold of a rental van. This can be relatively cheap; through Zipcar you can book and drive one from £10/hour.

However, if you have lots of bulky belongings to move, a ‘man and a van’ or a removals company might be a better option. Again, make sure to shop around and compare quotes to get the best deal.

Cost 4: Kitting out the new property

It’s important to consider the various bits and bobs you’ll need to buy to set you up in the new place, particularly if you’re a first-time renter or moving to an unfurnished property. Pots and pans? A sofa? Desk? Bedside light? Chest of drawers?

You could shop second hand through Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree or eBay, and it’s always worth asking family and friends too.

Even if the next place is furnished, you might still have to fork out for some pieces. At the house viewing, ask for a list of exactly what’s included to save yourself any nasty surprises.

You can then budget for what you’ll need to buy. Wondering what else to find out when looking around the property? Read our ‘House viewing checklist for renters’.

Cost 5: Storage

The cost of moving house when renting can increase if you have a gap between tenancies, because you might have to pay for storage.

If you shop around, storage facilities can cost less than £10/week. However, be aware of extra fees. You’ll also need to pay for; the security deposit, a lock for the unit, insurance for your stuff within, and the cost of transporting it all to and fro.  

You might find cheaper rates slightly further out of town, and some storage companies' price match too. If you have time on your hands you could visit the unit before booking it, to give you a better idea of whether all your stuff will fit.

Cost 6: The extras

A couple of final things for you to consider when wondering how much does it cost to move house in the uk:

  • Your new commute: will it be more expensive? Or will you save money in the long run by being able to walk or cycle to work?
  • Parking: if you have a car, will you need to pay for a parking permit?

Whilst you’re here, why not read about ‘How to negotiate rent’, ‘Does renting boost your credit score?’ or 'Best websites to find a rental property'

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