September 23, 2020Lettings, Lifestyle

Tenants: switch on to utility swapping

We rely on gas, electricity and a broadband connection almost every minute of every day, whether we’re charging a phone, boiling a kettle or watching a film. Now, with more of us working from home than ever before, our utility consumption is growing.

Many of us don’t give a passing thought to flicking a switch, while others have become more energy conscious thanks to smart meters. Very few, however, stop to think how much we will spend on utility supplies over the course of our lifetime but somebody has done the maths.

O2 has found the average adult will spend almost £1 million in bills while they are alive – £926,720 on gas, electricity, water, their phone and other bills, to be precise. This amalgamated figure is enough to take your breath away but everyone, with a little shopping around, can chip away at that figure – and that includes tenants too. 

When it comes to utilities in rented properties, our lettings team find it’s asked the same questions time and time again, so we’ve provided the answers below:- 

I’m a tenant, can I choose my own utility suppliers?

Many renters move into a property and simply pick up where the last tenant left off, using the same gas, electricity, TV, phone and broadband suppliers. While convenient, this may not be the most economic of options and unless you’re on a ‘bills included’ tenancy agreement, renters are entitled to swap energy suppliers. If you want further clarification on your rights, Ofgem has a great guide to switching utility suppliers specifically for tenants.

How much could I save by switching?

Moving into a new rented property is the perfect time to compare deals. An hour spent researching the cheapest suppliers could result in a saving of almost £600 a year on gas and electricity bills alone*. There are several online comparison websites freely available, including but not limited to Uswitch, comparethemarket and moneysupermarket, and switching can also give you the opportunity to choose a greener energy supplier.

Can I get a smart meter if I’m a tenant?

Tenants who pay directly for gas and electricity in their rented property can apply to have a smart meter installed. It is wise to let your letting agent or landlord know your intentions but unless there is something specific in your tenancy agreement, smart meters should be encouraged. You can read about your smart meter rights here. 

Does a landlord have to provide media/communication connections?

There is no legal requirement for a landlord to provide a tenant with a telephone, television or broadband connection but it’s usual for provision to be in place. If a tenant paying the bill directly finds the incumbent services too expensive or unsuitable, they can shop around for the best deal. Remember, if your switch involves any new cabling or drilling that may damage or alter the property, a tenant should notify their landlord or letting agent before the work begins.

If you’re looking for a new property to rent and would like a list of the latest available properties, please contact us. We’re also happy to hear from landlords looking for utility and energy advice.

*gocompare.com

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