Which bills are you responsible for as a tenant?

Are you confused about what bills are, and are not your responsibility in a rental property?

For this week’s Top Tip Tuesday, we will be giving you the run down of all the bills you could be responsible for.

As a tenant, rent will be your highest housing cost on a monthly basis. It is a bill that you are expected to pay.

But what other bills could you face each month? These include energy, water and council tax, not to mention other bills such as home insurance and TV license.

Today we will cover which bills must be paid by you, the tenant, and by your landlord.

Council Tax

You will be responsible for paying the Council Tax to your local council. The amount you pay depends on the property’s valuation, band of the property and your local authority.

To find out how much your Council Tax could cost, please click here.

Be aware that reductions are also available for certain individuals, including those who claim benefits or those who have a low income. You can find out how to apply by clicking here.

Equally, if you live alone – or just with children under 18 – you can receive a 25% discount. Find out more here.

There are also some exemptions in some situations. For example, if you are a full-time student.

Energy

When living in a rental property, you are required to pay the gas and electricity bills.

However, in some cases these bills may be in your landlord’s name.

If you are not sure who is responsible, please check your tenancy agreement or ask your letting agent/ landlord.

It is worth knowing that if you pay your energy supplier directly, you do have the right to switch for a cheaper deal.

Normally, it would be good to check if there are any cheaper deals out there by using comparison sites, such as Uswitch, to see how much you could save by moving to a new supplier. However, with energy bills rising, you are more likely to be better off staying with your current supplier.

Water

As a tenant, you may have a water bill in your own name, or pay for water as part of your rent. If you are not sure, check your tenancy agreement or ask your letting agent/ landlord.

If it is your responsibility to pay the water bill, you can find out which water provider supplies your area by clicking here.

You might not realise this however, unlike gas and electricity, you cannot shop around to find a better deal. You will either be on your provider’s standard tariff, or have a water meter, which means you only get charged for the amount of water you use.

Phone and Broadband

You will need to pay for the phone line and broadband.

Few people use a landline to make phone calls anymore, so you may only need it for your internet connection.

To find out what speed and coverage you can get, use a broadband postcode checker by clicking here.

If you are living in a shared house (HMO), it may make sense to opt for an unlimited data broadband package. This means that you should not end up breaching your data download limit.

Bundling your broadband into a package with your TV and phone could also work out cheaper than paying for each service seperately.

TV License

As a tenant, it is your responsibility to pay for a TV license. You will need one if you intend to watch or record live TV broadcasts on any channel. Or if you want to download or watch any BBC programmes on iPlayer (including both catch up and on demand).

A standard TV License costs £159 and the maximum penalty for watching TV without one is £1,000.

Buildings Insurance

In a rental property, it is the landlord’s duty to pay for the buildings insurance, because they own the property.

Buildings insurance is the cover which protects the structure of your home, as well as the permanent fixtures and fittings.

Contents Insurance

By contrast, your landlord is not responsible for contents insurance, so you need to sort this out yourself.

Contents insurance covers everything you could imagine falling out of your home if you turned it upside down. This includes gadgets, furniture, carpets, curtains, clothes and jewellery.

It is important to organise your contents cover as son as you move into a new property to ensure that you are covered right away. It should not be expensive and it is a good idea to shop around to find the best deals for you.

Make sure that you are not under-insured with your cover. It could mean you end up seriously out of pocket when you need to make a claim.

Service Charges

In some cases, a tenant may be required to pay a service charge for things such as gardening or the cleaning of communal areas.

Check your tenancy agreement to see what you are responsible for.

Bonus Tips

  • Consider setting up a direct debit for your bills, as it could mean that you get a discount. You can set up a direct debit for your energy, water, phone and broadband bills, as well as your Council Tax and your TV license.
  • When organising bills, make sure that you are aware of pay-monthly options for bills such as contents insurance, since these are essentially high interest loans. To avoid shelling out between 10% and 30% more, it is advisable to try and pay your quoted premium in one lump sum.
  • Remember to shop around for deals on bills such as energy, phone, broadband and home insurance, to keep your costs down. You can do this on various comparison sites including Uswitch.

Were these tips useful?

We wanted to take this opportunity to share that Boxall Brown & Jones are currently offering discounts on TV, broadband and insurance. Click here to discover some exclusive discounts!

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