Moving into a new house

Once someone who is seeking asylum secures their refugee status, they are asked to move on from their temporary asylum accommodation into a permanent private home. This is often rented accommodation. This guide will explain what to do if you have just moved into a rented property.

Once you arrive at your new property, your first task is to take an electricity and gas meter reading. To do this, you must write down or take a photo of the numbers that you find on your electricity and gas meters and the date. You might have to search the home for these as they are in different places in each property.

Following on from this, you must register your name with the companies that sell you electricity and gas. If you do not, you might end up paying someone else’s debt. You can choose from a range of providers that you can find online, or just continue with the current provider. Your landlord can give you more information on the current provider if this is needed. Whilst you can switch between providers, switching will not save much money currently, as all energy providers charge around the same whilst the energy price guarantee is in place. You should also look into insuring the contents of your home.

You will also need to contact your local council about your council tax. Council tax pays for many aspects of your local services, including water. Council tax works differently for different properties- in some, your council tax will be calculated, and you will receive a bill for this, but in others, you will need to sign yourself up. It is therefore easiest to speak with your local council to be sure you are billed the correct amount.  Many people are eligible for a reduction of between 25%-100% on their council tax. People living alone, or only with children, people on a low income, or in full-time education, or those with a carer are all among those who could get a reduced bill, so be sure to check if you are eligible for a reduction!

You can also organise to have internet installed in your property. You can browse internet providers at Uswitch or at Money Saving Expert. The average broadband connection across the UK is around 86.5 Mbps. The bigger this number, the faster the speed. Unless you are doing something internet-intensive such as music production or streaming, you probably do not need anything faster than this.

You may want to register with the Priority Services Register, which is a free support service for people in vulnerable situations. You can read more about this online.

Where can I go for help?

Positive Action in Housing

Fill out a self-referral form here:

Advice Direct Scotland

Visit their website and use their online chatbot: 

Call them: 0808 196 8660

Home Energy Scotland

If you are a private tenant and you are looking for more energy-efficient tools for your home, call 0808 808 2282

Citizens Advice Bureau

You can find their website here:

Community Care Grants — Scottish Welfare Fund

This fund is available to you to help you set up home in the community after a period of unsettlement. The grant can help households to buy the basics to help set up a home:

Examples of items that you might get a community care grant for are:

  • furniture
  • household equipment like a cooker or washing machine
  • travel costs
  • removal expenses
  • storage charges

For second-hand furniture, please visit


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