Which Bills Is My Landlord Responsible For?

Complete guide on which bills you should pay and which you shouldn't

Which bills is my landlord responsible for?
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As a private tenant, your approach to energy bills and the like may be different from a homeowner.

Your landlord has certain responsibilities when it comes to your home, whilst you are responsible for other bills. Much can depend on the type of tenant you are, and what deal you struck with your landlord prior to signing a contract.

Whilst it may seem like an uncertain situation, the UK Government has clear guidelines in place for landlords addressing their responsibilities and requirements. For instance, they must keep you home safe and free from health hazards. That means any bills incurred for repairs are remedial work would fall on them. However, if you caused that damage wilfully then you may be accountable for the expense.


As there seems to be some blurring of the lines, we have put together a list of the common household bills, and which party should be responsible for them.

Utility Bills

Energy bills are set to fall, which is great news for landlords and tenants alike. In our recent article titled Energy Prices Fall Within the UK, we explained changes to the price cap ruling which means cheaper bills. That results in savings, and it may be you or your landlord who covers the costs. Much depends here on the type of house or flat you live in. If you rent a room in an HMO, it is likely you will get bills included. Remember, this is not just water, gas and electric, but also broadband, which is as important these days as the others. In a regular rental agreement, the responsibility will be placed upon you to cover these bills, so expect to pay them when you move in. You should be able to change supplier if you wish, but it would be worth including the landlord in this process, so they are aware of your plans.

Council Tax

Council tax is another area in which the type of occupancy dictates who pays the tax. The Tenants Voice suggests that where multiple tenants rent their own private rooms but share communal areas such as a bathroom or kitchen, then the landlord is responsible for the council tax. Generally, the tenant is responsible for the council tax on a hierarchical basis. If you are the senior figure, or figures, in the home, then it is down to you to pay the tax. If you are in a rented property and live with your parents, then you are not.

Insurance

Insurance is split equally depending on what type you desire. For instance, if you want to cover your contents, that will fall upon you to arrange, not your landlord. However, they should have adequate buildings cover, almost certainly as part of any mortgage they have on the property.

 

There are policies available that cover repairs and the like too, which benefits both tenant and landlord. Special policies can cover plumbing, heating, electrics, drainage and a host of other areas within the home. These would be the responsibility of the landlord, but they are not compulsory. It might be worth discussing the options with your landlord though because the benefits stretch to both parties. For instance, the landlord comparison guide on HomeServe explains how as a tenant, you can call them directly if you have a problem with your boiler, cutting out the middleman – in this case, your landlord. They have to commit to a small outlay, but get peace of mind and no hassle when a problem occurs, whereas the tenant gets the swift remedial work they need.

Repairs

Repairs are mainly down to the landlord, as we have already touched upon unless the damage has been caused by the tenant. However, do not expect any repair to be paid for, as only ones that affect health and safety will be a priority. If you have a window that is leaking, then the landlord will likely pay the bill. If you have squeaky floorboards, that is not a serious repair and therefore the landlord would not be under obligation to pay the repair bill. If you have broken a panel on an internal door, then you are liable.

The key to any good landlord-tenant relationship is communication and clarity, so make sure you are aware of which bills you must pay ahead of signing an agreement. If uncertainty creeps in, pick up the phone and make a call before anything becomes a problem. It is likely, if any bills are to be problematic, it will be around repairs and remedial work, so keep dialogue lines open and relationships open and honest.

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