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The Tenancy Agreement should indicate who is responsible for the payment of utility bills. Ordinarily the tenant should take over the account and put it in their own name, payment is then a matter between the tenant and utility company. The tenants will usually need to arrange for meters to be read, and the supplies put in their name.

The utility companies may send someone to read the meter or they may ask you or the occupier to supply a reading. It is recommended  to include all relevant meter readings on the inventory.

If fuel has been used during the void period you can either agree to reimburse the tenant who may have to pay for it (if it is only a small amount) or pay the suppliers for the fuel used.

If you charge for utilities on the rent, for example because you are renting out rooms and there is no separate bill, you should set the rent at a level that reflects the cost. However, you cannot usually increase the rent just because the water bill has gone up. You must follow the normal rules for rent increases. However, a contract term which provides for rent to be increased to reflect increases in the utility bills paid by the landlord, will normally be considered fair under the regulations, so long as the tenant is given reasonable notice of the increase and is given the right to inspect the relevant bills to check that the increase in rent reflects the increase in the bills.

If you pay for the utilities, and your tenant is receiving Housing Benefit, the payment they receive will be reduced by an amount to reflect this, and they will need to pay you from their other income.

You can agree the meter readings with the incoming tenant, and let them know which companies are currently supplying the fuel. The tenant can choose their own electric/gas utility supplier after one months’ period of a tenancy.

If you need to find out which company is supplying your property; for gas supply you need to phone the Meter Number Helpline on 0870 608 1524, and for electric you need to phone Western Power Distribution on 0845 601 5972.



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