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Moving to a London High-Rise Guide + Checklist

London's skyline is ever-changing, with new high-rise buildings constantly reshaping the city's profile. These towering structures offer stunning views, modern amenities, and often a prime location in the heart of the bustling metropolis. However, moving to a high-rise apartment presents unique challenges that differ from relocating to a traditional house or low-rise flat.


This guide from Denix Moving will explore the common hurdles you might face when moving to a London high-rise and provide practical solutions to ensure a smooth transition to your new home in the sky.


Understanding High-Rise Living in London



High-rise living has become increasingly popular in London over the past few decades. These vertical communities offer a unique lifestyle, combining the excitement of urban living with the comfort and amenities of modern design. From the iconic Canary Wharf skyscrapers to the sleek residential towers popping up in areas like Nine Elms and Stratford, high-rise apartments cater to a diverse range of residents, from young professionals to families and retirees.


Before you make the move, it's essential to understand what high-rise living entails. In London, a high-rise is typically defined as a building with multiple storeys, usually more than 10 floors, and served by lifts. These buildings often come with shared facilities such as gyms, communal gardens, or residents' lounges, and may have concierge services. While the views can be breathtaking and the locations convenient, living in a high-rise also means adapting to a different set of rules and considerations compared to traditional housing.


Key points:

  • High-rise living is becoming more common in London, with new developments constantly emerging

  • These buildings often offer shared amenities and services not found in traditional housing

  • Living in a high-rise requires adapting to a unique set of circumstances and regulations



Planning Your Move

Moving to a high-rise requires careful planning and coordination. Unlike moving to a house where you might have direct access to your front door, high-rise moves often involve navigating through shared spaces, using lifts, and adhering to building regulations. Start by contacting your building's management team or concierge service well in advance of your move. They can provide you with crucial information about move-in procedures, available time slots for using the service lift (if there is one), and any restrictions on moving times.


Many high-rise buildings in London have specific days or hours when moves are permitted to minimise disruption to other residents. You'll also need to consider the logistics of transporting your belongings to your new flat. This might involve using smaller vehicles that can access underground car parks, or coordinating with the building management to reserve a loading bay. If your building doesn't have a dedicated service lift, you'll need to plan how to share the regular lifts with other residents during your move.


It's also worth checking if your new building has any specific requirements for moving insurance. Some high-rise buildings in London require proof of insurance before allowing moves to take place, to cover any potential damage to communal areas.


Key points:

  • Contact building management early to understand move-in procedures and restrictions

  • Consider logistics of transporting belongings, including vehicle access and lift usage

  • Plan your move around permitted days and times to avoid conflicts with building regulations


Choosing the Right Moving Company



Selecting a moving company with experience in high-rise relocations is crucial for a smooth move. Look for removal firms that specifically mention high-rise or apartment moving services. These companies will be familiar with the challenges of navigating tight spaces, using service lifts, and protecting communal areas during the move.


Denix Moving are experts in this field and have helped thousands with their move in London.


When researching moving companies, consider checking reviews on platforms like Trustpilot or Which? to get an idea of their reputation and experience with high-rise moves. The British Association of Removers (BAR) is also a good resource for finding reputable moving companies. We have won awards for our service which you can read about here.


When requesting quotes, be sure to mention that you're moving to a high-rise apartment and provide details such as the floor number, lift dimensions, and any known restrictions. This will help the company provide an accurate quote and ensure they're prepared for the specific challenges of your move. Don't hesitate to ask potential movers about their experience with high-rise relocations in London and request references if possible.


Key points:

  • Choose a moving company with specific experience in high-rise relocations

  • Check reviews and consider BAR-approved companies

  • Provide detailed information about your building when requesting quotes


Preparing for the Move

Preparation is key when moving to a high-rise apartment. Start by decluttering and downsizing your belongings. High-rise living often means adapting to a more compact living space, so this is an excellent opportunity to reassess what you really need. Consider the layout and storage options in your new flat and plan accordingly. Measure large furniture pieces to ensure they'll fit in the lift and through doorways. If you have items that won't fit or aren't suitable for your new space, consider selling, donating, or storing them.


Packing for a high-rise move requires some strategic thinking. Use smaller, sturdy boxes that are easier to manoeuvre in tight spaces and lifts. Label boxes clearly with your name, flat number, and the room they belong in. This will help streamline the moving process, especially if you're sharing lifts or communal areas with other residents. For valuable or fragile items, consider transporting them yourself if possible, to ensure their safety during the move.


If you're struggling with decluttering, consider using the KonMari method, which can be particularly helpful when downsizing for high-rise living. For items you decide to donate, organisations like the British Heart Foundation offer furniture collection services in many areas of London.

Key points:

  • Declutter and downsize before the move, considering the layout of your new flat

  • Measure large furniture to ensure it will fit in lifts and through doorways

  • Use smaller, clearly labelled boxes for easier transportation in confined spaces

Navigating Building Regulations and Etiquette

High-rise buildings in London often have specific regulations and etiquette that residents are expected to follow. These rules are designed to ensure the safety, security, and comfort of all residents in the building. Familiarise yourself with your building's policies regarding move-ins, use of communal areas, noise restrictions, and waste disposal. Many high-rises have strict rules about when you can move in and how long you can reserve the service lift.


It's also important to be considerate of your neighbours during the move. Try to minimise noise and disruption in communal areas, and be patient if you need to share lifts with other residents. If your building has a concierge service, introduce yourself and ask about any specific procedures or tips for new residents. Building a good relationship with the concierge and your neighbours from the start can make your transition to high-rise living much smoother.


Be aware that many high-rise buildings in London have specific fire safety regulations. The London Fire Brigade provides guidance on fire safety in high-rise buildings, which is essential reading for new residents.


Key points:

  • Familiarise yourself with building policies on move-ins, communal areas, and noise

  • Be considerate of neighbours and minimise disruption during your move

  • Understand and follow fire safety regulations specific to high-rise buildings



Adapting to High-Rise Living

Once you've successfully moved in, it's time to adapt to your new high-rise lifestyle. Living in a vertical community can be quite different from traditional housing, and it may take some time to adjust. One of the most significant changes is often the reliance on lifts for daily access to your home. While modern high-rises typically have reliable lift systems, it's wise to familiarise yourself with the stairs as an alternative, especially in case of maintenance or emergencies.


Take some time to explore your building's amenities and communal areas. Many London high-rises offer impressive facilities such as gyms, rooftop gardens, or residents' lounges. Making use of these spaces can enhance your living experience and provide opportunities to meet your neighbours. Some buildings even have dedicated apps or online portals for booking amenities or communicating with management, so be sure to ask about these digital resources.


Security is often a key feature of high-rise living, with many buildings offering 24/7 concierge services and secure entry systems. Familiarise yourself with these security features and procedures to ensure you're making the most of them. If your building uses a key fob system, make sure you understand how it works and what to do if you lose your fob.


Lastly, don't forget to enjoy the unique aspects of high-rise living, such as the views over London. Many residents find that the panoramic vistas from their apartments more than compensate for any initial adjustments they need to make. Consider joining local community groups or following social media accounts dedicated to your area to fully immerse yourself in your new neighbourhood.


Key points:

  • Familiarise yourself with both lift and stair access to your apartment

  • Explore and make use of your building's amenities and communal areas

  • Take advantage of security features and enjoy the unique benefits of high-rise living, such as city views

Dealing with Common High-Rise Challenges

While high-rise living offers many benefits, it also comes with its own set of challenges. Here's a table summarising some common issues and potential solutions:

Challenge

Description

Potential Solutions

Noise

Sound transmission between flats or from communal areas

Use rugs, curtains, or acoustic panels; invest in a white noise machine

Temperature Control

Difficulty managing heat, especially in glass-fronted buildings

Install good quality blinds or curtains; use portable fans or heaters as needed

Wind Noise

Increased wind at higher levels can cause noise

Use weatherstripping on windows; consider double-glazing if not already installed

Lack of Outdoor Space

Limited or no private outdoor areas

Make use of communal outdoor spaces; invest in indoor plants; explore nearby parks

Lift Dependence

Reliance on lifts for daily access

Stay informed about lift maintenance schedules; know alternative routes via stairs

Limited Storage

Smaller living spaces with less storage

Utilise vertical storage solutions; consider off-site storage for rarely used items

Another challenge can be managing temperature and ventilation, especially in glass-fronted high-rises. South-facing apartments can get very warm in summer, while north-facing flats might be cooler. Familiarise yourself with your flat's heating and cooling systems, and consider investing in good quality blinds or curtains to help regulate temperature. The Energy Saving Trust offers advice on managing energy use in apartments, which can be particularly useful for high-rise residents.


Wind can also be a factor at higher levels, so be prepared for potential noise from wind and ensure any balcony furniture is secure. If you're having issues with drafts, the UK Government's Simple Energy Advice service provides tips on draught-proofing that can be applied to high-rise apartments.


Lastly, some people find the lack of outdoor space challenging in high-rise living. If this is important to you, make the most of any communal outdoor areas in your building, or explore nearby parks and green spaces. Many London high-rises are strategically located near public parks or river walks, providing ample opportunity for outdoor recreation. The Mayor of London's London Parks & Gardens Trust website is a great resource for finding green spaces near your new home.


Key points:

  • Address potential noise issues with sound-absorbing furnishings

  • Manage temperature and ventilation challenges, especially in glass-fronted buildings

  • Make use of communal outdoor spaces or nearby parks if you miss having a private garden



High-Rise Move-In Checklist

To help you stay organised during your move to a London high-rise, here's a comprehensive checklist:

  • [ ] Contact building management for move-in procedures and restrictions

  • [ ] Book a reputable moving company experienced in high-rise relocations

  • [ ] Measure large furniture to ensure it fits in lifts and through doorways

  • [ ] Declutter and donate or sell items you won't need in your new flat

  • [ ] Pack using smaller, sturdy boxes for easier manoeuvrability

  • [ ] Label all boxes clearly with name, flat number, and room destination

  • [ ] Arrange parking or loading bay access for moving day

  • [ ] Confirm lift reservation for your move (if applicable)

  • [ ] Notify utility companies of your move and set up services in your new flat

  • [ ] Update your address with relevant organisations (bank, employer, etc.)

  • [ ] Obtain moving insurance if required by your building

  • [ ] Familiarise yourself with the building's fire safety procedures

  • [ ] Collect all necessary keys, fobs, or access cards for your new flat

  • [ ] Pack a "first night" box with essentials for your arrival

  • [ ] Take photos of valuable items before the move

  • [ ] Confirm details with your moving company a few days before the move

  • [ ] Prepare a floor plan of your new flat to guide furniture placement

  • [ ] Arrange childcare or pet care for moving day if needed

  • [ ] Clean your old property and take final metre readings

  • [ ] Introduce yourself to the concierge and any immediate neighbours

  • [ ] Explore your new building's amenities and communal areas

  • [ ] Test all appliances and fixtures in your new flat

  • [ ] Locate important areas: bin rooms, mailboxes, emergency exits

  • [ ] Register with a local GP and dentist in your new area

  • [ ] Consider joining local community groups or building social media pages

Conclusion

Moving to a London high-rise presents unique challenges, but with proper planning and preparation, it can be an exciting transition to a new way of living. The key is to start your preparations early, choose the right moving company, and familiarise yourself with your new building's rules and facilities. While it may take some time to fully adjust to high-rise living, many residents find that the benefits – stunning views, modern amenities, and often a prime location – far outweigh any initial hurdles.


Embrace the unique aspects of your new vertical community, from the shared facilities to the diverse mix of neighbours, and you'll soon feel at home in your slice of London's skyline. Remember, every high-rise is different, so don't hesitate to ask questions and seek advice from building management or long-time residents. With the right approach, your move to a London high-rise can be the start of an exciting new chapter in your urban living experience.


For more information on living in London, the Mayor of London's official website offers a wealth of resources, including the London Housing Design Guide, which provides insights into the standards expected in modern London homes, including high-rise apartments.



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