1. Change the locks: even though you receive your keys from the landlord/previous tenants, there is no guarantee they don’t keep an extra copy.
2. Clean the fridge: it’s been in use by other people for quite some time. You need to defrost it, clean and disinfect it, then leave the doors open and let it air for some time.
3. Arrange for utilities to be turned on: if you are moving into a private house during the winter, there will be no heating, so you want to make sure to have it connected on the day of the move. The same applies to the electricity – it’s no fun to sit in the dark just because you scheduled it last minute and the electricity company can only send someone in a day or two.
4. Check for bugs and rodents: if necessary, have the exterminator examine and spray your rooms. Open the windows to air the space before you move in.
5. Measure the rooms/doorways/elevator for the furniture: if you have big bulky items, you want to make sure they will go through the doorway or the elevator door. If they won't – you might have to arrange for hoisting services. Have a plan ready of where your big furniture will go so that the movers can put it in the right places.
6. Inspect for damages: big holes in the walls, stains, scratches, broken window glass – you don’t want to be held responsible for something that the previous tenants did. Inform the landlord about your findings and request for the damages to be fixed.
7. Check for lead paint: you can purchase a lead test kit at a local hardware store.
8. Window Guards: make sure you get them installed before you move in if you have children.