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Bills and utilities in private accommodation

Most private accommodation will not include bills and utilities in the rent. Here's our guide to help you set them up and avoid unwanted costs.

Keep your bills down

With the cost of living on the rise and climate change, we all want to reduce our energy usage and keep costs down. In a privately rented house this starts with your accommodation search.

Follow our top housing search tips on what to look for. We've also collated our top tips for reducing your energy usage.

Setting up bills and utilities for your household

Check what you are responsible for

You can generally expect bills and utilities to be included in the rent in most purpose-built student accommodation and lodgings or homestay rooms. Some landlords will include bills and utilities too, but in the majority of rentals they will not be included. For more information on different rental options, visit Finding private sector accommodation.

It is important to read your contract to understand what is and what is not included. If you would like assistance with this, ResLife Support offer a free contract reading service which can be booked online.

If everyone in the property is a full-time student, the property will be exempt from council tax. It's worth checking that you are registered as exempt from council tax.

Decide how you and your household split the costs

It is important that you and your housemates think about how payments can be shared fairly in a way that ensures bills are paid on time.

Student bill-splitting companies exist and are useful in helping you arrange and manage this, but they are more expensive. With the cost of living on the rise, reducing your outgoings is increasingly important.

We recommend that each housemate is assigned a utility or bill for setting up (sharing the workload). When bills are due, divide costs equally amongst the household and keep a record of who has paid what.

Consider setting up a Shared Living Agreement which will help you and your housemates decide how to split bills, avoid potential disputes and make the most of living with each other.

Know who your suppliers are

The simplest way of getting this information is by asking your landlord. They should be able to tell you who the energy, gas and water suppliers are and confirm that the previous tenants have/will let them know they are moving and settle their bill. If you’re still unsure, there are services available to assist:

Gas - Find My Supplier
Electricity - Energy Networks Association
Water - Water UK


As well as speed and cost, it’s important to consider the contract length. Contracts are usually 12, 18 or 24 months so be sure to get a duration that is suitable for you and your housemates so that you can avoid cancellation fees (most private accommodation contracts will be 12 months). For further guidance on broadband in a shared home, see the Marks Out of Tenancy guide.

Meter readings

The day you move in, get a meter reading and contact your gas and electricity provider/s to ensure the account is now registered with you. There are various types of meters, but they are usually simple to read. Citizen’s Advice has further guidance on reading your gas and energy meters.

Your supplier will likely require you to give regular readings. If you do not do this your usage will be estimated which means your bill might be too high or too low. Too low may sound attractive, but this will mean that you and your household will be hit with a big bill when closing your account at the end of the tenancy, so it’s highly recommended that you keep up with your readings.

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The ResLife Support team offer a variety of services to support you in your search for accommodation or any issues you may encounter.

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