Tenants: Which Bills Are You Responsible For?

As a tenant it can be a struggle to try and calculate your monthly budget after rent, especially if you are unsure as to which bills you are actually responsible for. In this blog we will discuss which bills you, the tenant, needs to pay and which are the responsibility of the Landlord.

 Council Tax

As the tenant you will be responsible for paying the council tax of the property to the council. The amount you will pay will vary depending on the value, banding and location of your local authority. For more information regarding council tax in your local area you will need to contact your local council directly who will be able to advise you.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom, there are reductions available in the rates for certain individuals. For example, if you live alone, or just with children under the age of 18 you could be entitled to a 25% reduction. It’s even better for full-time students as they don’t need to pay council tax at all as explained on the government website.

It is also worth noting that if you are living in shared housing, also known as a HMO, then council tax is actually the Landlord’s responsibility to pay. However, you should always double check this with your Local Authority to confirm which rules apply to your area.

Energy

In terms of your energy bills you should always check your tenancy agreement first as some Landlords charge a rental amount inclusive of bills. If this is not the case for you then you will be required to pay your own gas and electricity bills.

Nonetheless, this doesn’t have to be seen as a bad thing. This means you have the opportunity to shop around and get the best deals. We discussed how to do this in a previous blog post discussing the best ways to save time but still get the best deals!

Water

Finding out who pay’s your water bill is also something you will need to consult your tenancy agreement for. If you are unsure you should always check with your Landlord/Estate Agent to avoid any issues further down the line.

If the responsibility does lie with you, the tenant, you will need to find out which water company supplies your area, as you can't really shop around compared to your energy bills. Yet, you can still keep your bills down by being mindful of your usage.

TV & Internet

The majority of the time you will need your TV and Internet subscriptions yourself. However, some Landlords/Estate Agents may offer this for an incentive, even if just for a few months so ensure that you ask this question before signing for the property if it is a variable that is important to you.

This is also the same for a TV licence, which is a legal requirement if you wish to watch or record live TV, or download or watch any BBC programmes. Information regarding a TV licence can be found on the government website as well as the price of £157.50 a year.

Insurance

Dependant on the type of insurance that is needed will affect who will need to foot the bill. In terms of any buildings insurance this will need to be paid by the Landlord as it is them who owns the property. Nonetheless, a tenant will still need to pay for insurance in the form of any contents insurance. This is because if there were to be any damage to the contents of the property, I.e. your belongings, you would not be covered on the Landlords building insurance.

Comparison websites such as Compare the Market and Money Supermarket can help with finding the best deal for the most cover.

Conclusion

Overall, sitting and working out your finances is important before moving to a new property. Part of this is working out which bills you will be responsible for in the new property you choose. You should always ensure you ask on viewings and before you sign a tenancy agreement as to which bills you will be responsible for. This will ensure you are able to budget beforehand and confirm you meet any affordability standards of the Estate Agent. Lastly, don’t forget that you shouldn’t always consider it a curse if any bills aren’t included as this means you are able to shop around and find the best deal, potentially saving money!

Disclaimer: Ezylet is not qualified to give legal or financial advice. Any information shared in the above blog is an opinion based on personal experiences within the property rental sector, and should never be construed as legal or professional advice.