Do Tenants Have to Pay for Utility Services?
It is very rare that utility bills are included in rent payments. It is important to understand when considering a tenancy that utility services are not included and to factor this into your budget. Utility services include gas, electricity and water, as well as optional extras such as a telephone line, broadband and TV. Which bills are and are not included with your rent will be set out in your tenancy agreement.
Arranging utility services do when you move in
• What you need to do when moving into a rented property will depend on whether or not the services are already connected.
• If they have been disconnected, you will want to contact the utility companies in advance to ensure that the services are available for you on the day you move in.
• If the services are still connected, you will be able to find out from the letting agent or landlord who the current suppliers are so that you can contact them to get the accounts put into your name.
• You will need to take meter readings on the day you move in to ensure you are only paying for what you have used, rather than for a previous tenant
You are not responsible for any previous tenant’s charges or arrears. The utility companies cannot make you settle unpaid bills for charges accrued before you moved in. If there are prepayment meters at the property, check with the supplier that they are not set to collect arrears from a previous occupier.
• You do not have to use the same utility suppliers are the previous tenants, you can shop around to find the best deals.
• However, you will need to advise your landlord of any change in supplier and return the account to the original supplier before you move out.
Suspending utility services when moving out
• When your tenancy comes to an end, you will need to take meter readings and contact the utility services providers to advise them.
• Try to give at least two days’ notice to avoid being held liable for bills for up to two days after you move out.
• Once you do move out you will be sent a final bill, you will need to either give the utility companies a forwarding address or set up mail redirection to ensure you receive your final bills.
Do not forget to tell the suppliers that you are moving because debt could continue to accrue, which may affect your credit rating. Leaving debt behind at a property is likely to prevent the landlord from giving you a good reference in the future.
Family Homes are letting agents with offices in Sittingbourne and Faversham. We have been in business for over 25 years and are the leading and largest independent specialists in property lettings and management in the area. If you are a current or prospective tenant with any questions about tenancy utility services, please feel free to contact us on 01795 47 34 34.