Utility bills and your rights

You're usually responsible for paying energy, water and broadband if your name is on the bill.

If you have a joint tenancy, you're generally all responsible if you're all named on the bills.

If you're not sure about your bills

Get advice if you:

  • disagree about who should pay the bills

  • are being charged more than expected

Citizens Advice explains what to do if you're not sure about your bills.

If your rent includes bills

Your landlord should not:

  • control how much energy or water you use

  • put bills in your name without your agreement

  • change who is responsible for the bills without your agreement

When your landlord asks you to pay more

There are 2 main ways your landlord can get you to pay more:

  • increasing your rent by following the rules for rent increases

  • using a clause in your contract about utility use if you have one

Check your tenancy agreement to make sure your landlord keeps to the rules.

Some people have a fair usage clause in their contract. This sets out amounts of energy and water that you can use.

Your landlord must not charge you more than the supplier charges them.

If you're asked to sign a new contract, check whether any terms have changed. The new agreement might not have bills included.

If you disagree with a rent increase

You could:

  • negotiate with your landlord

  • challenge the increase

Your landlord cannot make you leave immediately if you disagree with an increase. They can take steps to evict you. But they must follow a legal process which takes a few months.

If they keep asking you to agree to pay more or leave, this could be harassment.

Our guide on rent increases explains your rights and what you can do.

Repair problems causing high bills

Your energy bills may be higher because of problems with your home.

Find out your landlord's responsibilities for repairs and how to complain if they will not do repairs.

Heating systems and poor insulation

Your landlord must fix the heating system if it is broken.

They may have to carry out improvements if repairs don't fix an underlying problem or if damp and mould are affecting your health.

Your landlord must usually make improvements if your home's EPC rating is F or G. You can check your EPC rating on GOV.UK.

You could ask the landlord to make improvements through the energy company obligation if you have a low income and receive some benefits.

Moving from prepayment to a credit meter

You do not need your landlord's permission to switch from a prepayment meter to a credit meter.

You can ask your supplier to do this if you think it's a better choice.

Citizens Advice explains how to change your meter and when it makes sense.

You may have to change the meter back when you move out.

Switching energy supplier

You do not need your landlord's permission to switch supplier if you pay the bills.

There are not many deals that could save you money right now. Citizens Advice explains things to think about before switching energy suppliers.

Let your landlord know who the new supplier is when you move out.

Help to pay household bills

You can get emergency grants, loans and money help if your situation is urgent.

This could help with household bills like council tax, water and broadband.

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Last updated: 28 April 2022

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