In this article
- What is meant by “utilities”
- Who is liable for paying the gas, electricity and other bills
- Why it is not advisable to leave your tenancy without paying any outstanding bills
When you become a tenant in rented accommodation don’t be surprised if you find you have to pay for electricity, gas and a telephone on top of the rent. In case you don’t know, gas, electricity, telephone services, council tax, TV and broadband are referred to as “utilities”. TTV understands that sometimes utility bills are included in the rent, but it is very rare these days. Obviously, if your landlord is going to pay the bills you will probably find the rent will be higher than it might otherwise be.
You should be informed of whether you are going to pay utility bills when you study the terms and conditions of the tenancy agreement, as it should be outlined in that document.
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Switching accounts over to your name
If you are going to be liable for the gas and electricity and other utility bills you may have to notify the utility companies yourself and get the accounts put in your name. You should do this ahead of the day you move in – but get the accounts to start on the day you move in and not before, otherwise you could end up paying for the gas/electricity when you’re not even using it.
The landlord or letting agent should be able to assist you with getting contact numbers for utility services that have been used in the past. Alternatively, you might want to ring around and compare prices as gas and electricity are competitive markets and you may be able to get some good deals by running comparison checks.
Paying the utility bills
When your tenancy ends make sure you read all the meters on the day you leave the property and notify the utility companies of your new address. If you don’t do this, you won’t get the final bills and may end up accruing debt and this may affect your credit rating. Your landlord or letting agent will not be happy if you leave debt behind and may not feel inclined to give you a good reference in the future.
- It is rare for landlords and letting agents to include utility bills in the total monthly rent, but it can happen. If it does, your rent will probably be higher than it might otherwise be
- As a tenant you may have to arrange changing the utility bills into your name and naturally can shop around for the best deals
- TTV advises all tenants to make sure they pay any outstanding bills before they leave as it may come back to haunt you and landlords won’t give you a good reference if you want to move into new rented accommodation
This article is provided as a guide. Any information should be used for research purposes and not as the base for taking legal action. The Tenants' Voice does not provide legal advice and our content does not constitute a client-solicitor relationship.
We advise all tenants to act respectfully with their landlords and letting agents and seek a peaceful resolution to problems with their rented property. For more information, explore the articles in our All advice category.
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