Utility bills and council tax

What are the household utility bills and council taxes I need to pay when renting a property?

Make sure you avoid those nasty surprises, unpaid and unseen bills, know what meter readings to take, and more — all in our guide below!

utility bills

What Utility and Council Tax bills do I have to pay?

A utility bill includes anything that you use inside your property when renting. This includes amenities such as water, gas, electricity, heating, internet (broadband) and a TV license.

Outside of the home, local services provided by the your council, such as regular recycling, rubbish collection, and public road maintenance, is paid for through your local Council Tax.

deposit
referencing

Registering for Utility Bills and Council Tax

Once you move into your new property, you are resposible for payment of any utility or council tax bills. You should have taken Meter Readings on your Move In and will then need to register yourself with all the relevant utility providers and local Council for tax payments. If unsure please contact our Customer Service Team who can inform you of who the current utility provider is and what utilties you are responsible for.

As a general rule of thumb, you can expect that any utility bills are not included with your rental payment and you will be resposible for registering and paying for  any bills that arise. The only main exception to this maybe communal heating and hot water services which do not have seperate meters for individual flats. You should check with the Property Host to confirm if any bills are included in the rent before renting the property.

In order to avoid being incorrectly billed, it’s important you make sure meter reading are taken when you move into the property and register yourself and the readings with the utility company as soon as possible. Please note that under the terms of your Tenancy Agreement this is part of a Tenant’s obligation when renting.

Choosing Utility providers

You are free to choose any utility provider you want to use as you may find cheaper deals and providers once you have moved in. Bills will be sent to you directly for payment which is separate to your rent. The utility contracts and payments are between you and the utility provider. As we are registered with the ICO and conform to GDPR regulations we will not be able to discuss or arrange any utility payments on your behalf as we are not party to the contract. The only exception here is if the building has a communal heating system which is invoiced through the Landlord. In such cases we will pass the invoice onto the tenant for payment accordingly.

utilities
Bill closing

Closing your Utility Bill and Council Tax accounts

To avoid being incorrectly billed, we advise that you notify your Utility providers of the final meter readings when you leave the property and give them your forwarding address for final bills payment. Otherwise you may be incorrectly billed for any services you did not use.

What types of Utilities are there?

The main utilities are Electric, Gas, Water and Telecoms.

Utility Types

Use in the home

Water

Fresh water for drinking and washing, and also sewerage water

Gas

Cooking, room heating, and water heating

Electricity

Lighting, powering appliances, room heating, and water heating

Telecoms

Internet broadband, TV, and landline phone, usually sold as packages.

What type of heating system do I have in my home?

Not every home will have gas, some homes, especially the more recently-built ones, will have electric-powered heating.

This table below explains the general types of heating systems in UK properties.

Important: for communal heating systems, be aware that the bill may be sent to the Owner on a quarterly, or even yearly, basis. You as the renter will not be billed directly as the occupant of the property. The cost will be recharged to you pro rata in accordance with the billing schedule sent to the Owner by the building management. In this way, you will be liable for the cost of however much energy you consume whilst renting the property.

Communal or individual?

Gas or electric?

Example(s) of such a heating system

Communal

Gas

Communal gas systems will have a shared gas-powered heat source (such as a communal building boiler) that serves several properties.

Communal

Electric

A HIU (Heat Interface Unit) located in your property receives and distributes heat from a central electrical power source. That central power source will serve many properties in the block, aside from yours.

Individual

Gas

A gas boiler in your property that generates heat and serves only your property (e.g. a combi boiler).

Individual

Electric

Underfloor heating, HVAC, or alternatively electric storage heaters mounted on the walls in your property.

How do I read and understand my utility bill?

With each utility provided to your home, you will need to read and understand the various aspects of your bill.

Please note that this general guide for Guests below, should not be relied upon solely. This guide should be read as a complement to the specific billing explanations given on the bills you actually receive from your utility suppliers.

Component of utility bill

Description

Amount consumed

How much of the utility you used during a certain period

Unit cost

The tariff paid for the utility. This will vary depending on either of the following:

(a) your usage (metered billing)

or

(b) your home’s location and size (chargeable value billing)

Balance

How much debt/credit you may have carried forward from the previous bill

Cost owed

Amount of the next payment you need to make

Due date

The date by which the payment should be made by you to the utility supplier

Customer account number

Your unique reference ID assigned to you by the utility supplier

Next – what to do if you need help during your stay

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