Advice on moving to a new home or area

You may need to move to an area to be closer to services or support or you may just want to move for a change. Moving home and relocating is a huge life change and it can have a significant impact on your mental health.


Where to start if you want to move home

If you’re buying a new home, your solicitor can help you with some of the practicalities. However, you may need some extra help if you’re a renter.

Moving to a new place if you rent from the Housing Executive or a housing association

Talk to your housing officer about moving. You can ask for a transfer if you’ve lived in your current home for at least two years. You may be able to transfer sooner than that if you’re having problems in your home.

You’ll have to fill in a transfer form. Your housing officer or someone from our Advocacy for All service can help you with this.

Your housing officer will put you on the list for a transfer. The length of time you’ll spend on the list depends on how many points you have and where you want to live. You get points for different reasons and may get extra points if:

  • You’re moving because of anti-social behaviour or problems with neighbours
  • You’re moving to be closer to people who support you
  • You’re moving to be closer to services you have to attend as part of your treatment
  • The Housing Executive agrees that it’s not reasonable for you to keep living at your current home

Housing Rights can answer your questions about housing points and the waiting list.

Moving to a new home if you rent from a private landlord

When you rent from a private landlord you usually sign a contract promising to live at the property for a fixed amount of time. It can be hard to leave the property before then even if you have a really good reason. Contact Housing Rights if you need to get out of your contract early.

Remember to clean your old home and take all of your items out of it. Ask your old landlord for a checklist of things you should do before you move out.

You’ll probably have to pay a deposit and rent in advance for your new home. You probably won’t get your old deposit back until after you’ve moved out.

Things to remember when you’re moving home

When you move home, you’ll need to:

  • Update your address records with your bank, phone provider and any online accounts you have
  • Let your employer know your new address
  • Update your Universal Credit account if you claim this benefit
  • Update your details on the electoral register
  • Cancel all utility bills for your old address
  • Contact the offices of any other benefits you claim to let them know about your new address
  • Check if you can stay with your current doctor’s practice or need to register with a new practice

You can set up a forwarding address with the postal service. The postal service will redirect any items sent to your old address to your new address for a fixed amount of time. You have to pay for this service.

Moving home when you have mental ill health

Moving home is a huge decision and it takes a lot of work. This can be overwhelming for anyone and particularly so if you have mental ill health. There are things you can do to try to manage the process in a way that protects your mental health.

  1. Plan for your move. Don’t leave packing until the last minute. From the time you decide to move, you can start looking at your things to see if there’s anything you can get rid of or anything you can start to pack away now that you won’t need them any time soon.
  2. Ask for help. Lean on your friends and family for help when you’re moving. Most people will be happy to lend an hour or two to help you pack, clean or transport things from one place to another.
  3. Keep your essentials close. Packing is stressful and even if you’re really organised, you can’t always find what you need when you need it. Pack a bag or box of essentials for things that you know you’ll need on the day you first move in. Things like soap, eating utensils, a kettle, pyjamas.
  4. Don’t expect perfection in your new home immediately. It takes time to get everything sorted. You may need to wait for deliveries or for contractors to be available. Make your new home your home by putting some personal touches in each room.

Dealing with change

Moving home is a big life change. These changes can cause stress and make you behave differently. You may find that:

  • You’re feeling anxious
  • Your appetite has changed
  • You feel sad or depressed but you aren’t quite sure why
  • You question your decision to move
  • You aren’t sleeping properly in your new home

Try to develop a routine in your new home – tackle a small task that needs to be done each day and then get out to explore your new surroudings and meet your new neighbours.

It can take a while to get used to new surroundings. In the meantime be kind to yourself.

More resources that may help when relocating