Taking control of your bills can help you manage your finances and avoid deposit deductions and disputes at the end of your tenancy. It’s a good idea to talk about how you’re going to manage bills with your housemates; this can avoid arguments later on.
- Discuss your attitudes to money and how warm you want to be; try to reach a compromise.
- Agree who will manage which bills but ensure all tenant's names are on the account.
- Agree how and when you will collect the money to pay the bill, e.g. each term/month; pre pay in advance, or pay when you receive the bill.
- Is there an 'app' you can use to help you keep track or to pay?
How much you pay for gas and electricity will depend on how energy efficient the property is; how much you actually use; the unit price of the fuel and cost of standing charges. It’s possible that the current supplier or the letting agent can confirm the previous annual bills cost for the new property.
You are responsible for bills from the date your tenancy starts until the tenancy ends. Tenants must adequately heat the property to avoid damp, condensation and mould; so even if you're happy putting on an extra jumper, you must have the heating on for a few hours a day in the colder months. When you go away for the holidays, keep the heating on at a minimum level to avoid freezing and bursting pipes. If you’re sharing a house, you are all responsible to pay an equal share of the bill. Agree how you will organise the bills - how will you pay? what will you use? Consider the environment as well as your wallet and make sure you take regular meter readings during the tenancy as well as at the beginning and end.
Paying bills yourself
It’s up to you whether you stay with the current providers for gas and electric or whether you switch. If you don’t know who the supplier is, ask the landlord or agent. Alternatively, you can check who the current supplier is online (please see our useful links). When you move in you should contact the suppliers for gas, electric and water to let them know the date your tenancy starts. Ensure every tenants name is on each bill and set up a payment method. Take a meter reading so that you can receive an accurate bill and remember to take readings regularly i.e. minimum every 3 months.
Check water meters when you’re not using any water (i.e. when appliances, taps etc. are turned off). If units are being used when everything is off you may have a water leak.
Check your tenancy agreement as it may include terms and conditions you need to abide by if you switch suppliers, i.e. you may be required to switch back to the original supplier at the end of the contract. Switching can take up to 3 weeks so you will pay the current supplier until the switching date.
Check your Energy Performance Certificate - EPC Register
Check who your current energy supplier is - Citizen's Advice
For information from Citizens Advice about energy and water supply, including choosing gas and electricity providers, click here.
For more information on energy shopping for students click here.
For information from Citizens Advice about phones, tv, internet and computers, including choosing service providers, click here.