A lot of tenants ask us about bills! They know they have to pay their rent each month, but what other bills will they face? From energy, water and Council Tax bills to contents insurance and TV Licences, we spoke to our lettings expert Andy Mitchell to get some advice for tenants.
You are responsible for paying the Council Tax to the council. The amount you pay depends on your property’s valuation, the banding of your property and your local authority. To find out more about your Council Tax, contact your local council. Reductions are available for certain individuals, such as those who claim benefits or have a low income. If you live alone – or just with children under 18 – you will also get a 25% discount. And, if you are a full-time student, you will also be exempt from paying Council Tax.
Most of the time, you will need to pay the gas and electricity, but some landlords will incorporate these into the rent, especially for student lets. If you are not sure who is responsible you need to check your tenancy agreement or ask the agent or landlord direct. If you pay your energy supplier directly, you have the right to switch so you can look out for cheaper deals on comparison sites such as Uswitch.
You will also need to check whether you or the landlord is responsible for paying the water bill. If you are, then you need to find out which water provider supplies your area. Unfortunately, you cannot shop around to find a better deal. You will either be on your provider’s standard tariff or have a water meter so you only get charged for the amount of water you use.
PHONE AND BROADBAND
Most of the time, you will need to pay for the phone line and broadband. To find out what speeds and coverage you can get, use a broadband postcode checker. It may make sense to opt for an ‘unlimited data’ broadband package if you are living in a shared house to ensure you do not breach your data download limit. Bundling your broadband into a package with your TV and phone could also work out cheaper than paying for each service separately.
You are responsible for paying for a TV licence, which is required if you will watch or record live TV broadcasts on any channel or if you want to download or watch any BBC programmes on iPlayer. A standard TV Licence costs £159, which is much cheaper than paying the £1,000 penalty fine!
Your landlord is responsible for the building insurance, but YOU are responsible for contents insurance. Contents insurance covers all your belongings, including gadgets, clothes and jewellery. It is important to organise contents cover as soon as you move into a new property to ensure you are covered right away. Contents insurance should not be too expensive and you can shop around for the best deals, but make sure you cover everything as you could end up out of pocket if anything does happen.
ANDY'S TOP TIPS
If you need any further advice you can get in touch with Andy Mitchell on 0151 236 7771.
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