Moving into a rented property can be extremely stressful. Not only have you got to worry about getting all your stuff into your new home, but you also need to transfer over all of your old bills, like your broadband and television package. However, one thing that many people overlook is their utilities, even though your gas and electricity usage can often be one of the most expensive bills to pay each month.
So, finding the cheapest energy supplier is a good idea. And when you don’t own a home outright, it can be confusing to really understand what you can and can’t do when you move in. So, that’s what we’re going to be looking at.
Moving into a rented property: Utilities guide
The truth is that when it comes to the gas and electricity in your house, you may or may not have complete control of your bills. Often is the case that you’ll be free to switch over to whatever supplier you prefer, which is what most of us want. But sometimes, your tenancy agreement may state that the landlord has control of your energy bills. In this case, you have to go through them.
It really comes down to whether you’re directly responsible for paying the bills in your apartment or home. If your name is on the bills and you pay them directly out of your account via a direct debit, then you’re more than entitled to look at changing to whichever supplier you prefer. You can do this directly, and although it’s a courtesy to let your landlord know, you don’t need their permission.
In some cases though, you may pay your landlord and then in turn, they’ll pay the bill directly. This means that the bills stay in their name, and they have control over who your energy supplier is. It’s definitely something to check if you’re in the process of moving into a new place, as although many landlords would be fine with you changing energy company, some may not be.
How to change your energy bills in a rented house/apartment
Now, if you do have the ability to change your gas and electric, then there’s a certain way that you’ll have to go about things to do so. When you first move into your new pad, you’ll want to take a gas and electric reading as soon as you can. This way you can be sure of what your readings are before you’ve officially moved in.
You can find out who has been the electric & gas supplier of your property by getting your hands on an old energy bill from the landlord, who should know either way. But even so, if you go ahead and switch to a new supplier, then you don’t need to get in touch with the previous company. They’ll do all of this for you, and it should only be a 2 or 3 week period to wait whilst you switch.
Why to go for a direct debit
In most cases, setting up a direct debit is the easiest way for you to pay for your energy usage each month. You can set it up pretty quickly and you’ll never have to worry about running out of electric, which is one of the common concerns with a prepaid meter. Though the truth is that although prepaid meters were extremely popular with landlords a few decades ago, they’re now becoming less and less used.
Prepaid meters are still used by some landlords, and it’s usually a way to ensure that the tenant doesn’t rack up a bill that they can’t afford. You just need to ensure that the card or electric key is continually topped up. However, they usually have a really high cost for your energy, so as a tenant, you’ll want to try and avoid using a prepaid meter.
Moving to a smart meter
One of the key benefits of having control over your energy bills is that it gives you the ability to switch to a smart meter if you want to. A smart meter will give you a much easier way to gauge how much energy you’re using each month. If you switch over to a new supplier, then they should offer to install a new smart meter for you free of charge.
Of course, these are the main things that you need to worry about when you’re moving into your new property, but they’re not the only things. You’ll also have to have a think about getting a TV licence, what broadband package you’ll end up going for and more compulsory expensive too, like your council tax.
But when it comes to gas and electricity, then it really comes down to whether the bills are in your name or in theirs. If you’re paying for an “all inclusive” kind of deal that includes the bills around your home, then the chances are that you won’t have the freedom to change provider.