Renting is a huge financial responsibility, and it’s important that you understand this goes beyond just your rental payments. There are a lot of additional costs you need to consider. But, what bills do you have to pay when renting? Let’s find out…
Are you confused about which bills are – and are not – your responsibility? What about Council Tax, energy, water and not to mention home insurance and your TV licence?
Don’t worry, in this guide, we’ll give you the lowdown as to what bills to pay when renting and which bills are included in rent.
The first bill you’ll have to pay when renting is Council Tax. The amount you pay to your local council will depend on your rental property’s valuation, the banding of the property and which local authority you’re with.
Council Tax is divided into bands – usually A to H. Properties in band A pay the lowest taxes, while properties in band H pay the highest. The more expensive the rental property, the higher the band.
That means, if you’re a first-time renter, your Council Tax will likely be between bands A and D. In London, or other expensive areas, you could expect to be in band C or D.
However, you should note that reductions are sometimes available for certain individuals. For example, you could receive a Council Tax reduction if:
Council Tax rates vary greatly from council to council. So, if you’re moving to a different area, your bill could either increase or decrease, regardless of the value of the properties.
To find out exactly how much you’ll be paying in Council Tax for your rental property, contact your local council. Knowing exactly how much you’ll be paying for Council Tax should help you budget and make sure you have enough to settle all the other bills you have to pay when renting.
Energy is the next bill you have to pay when renting a property. However, in some cases, the gas and electricity bills may be in your landlord’s name – so they may charge you through the rent. If you’re not 100% sure who is responsible for paying your energy bills, check your tenancy agreement.
The pro to paying your energy supplier directly is that you have the right to switch – which you don’t have if the bills are in your landlord’s name. If this is the case, it could be worth checking if there are any cheaper deals out there by using a comparison site, like Uswitch. This shows you how much you could save by moving to a different energy supplier.
Unfortunately, this is another rental bill that is tricky to budget for as prices vary significantly by region and your bill is obviously affected by how much energy you use. On average, a UK household pays around £1,200 for both gas and electricity each year. However, if you’re a first-time renter, you will probably use much less than that. As a renter, it might be worth asking your landlord if they’re willing to instal a smart meter. This might help you manage your energy better.
As with energy, it’s not always clear whether water is a bill to pay when renting or whether it is included in your rent. Again, if you’re not sure, check your tenancy agreement to find out who is responsible for paying your water bill.
If the water bill is in your name, you’ll need to find out which water provider supplies in your area. Unlike gas and electricity, you cannot shop around to find a better deal for your water – regardless of whether the bill’s in your name or the landlord’s. You’ll either be on your provider’s standard tariff, or have a water meter. If it’s the latter, you will only be charged for the amount of water you use.
Another bill you have to pay when renting is phone and broadband. Very few people use a landline to make phone calls anymore, so you will likely only need it for your internet connection.
Despite this, bundling your broadband into a package with your TV and phone could end up working out cheaper than paying for each service individually.
If you want to watch live TV, the TV licence is just another bill you’ll have to pay when renting. As a tenant it’s your responsibility to pay for a TV licence.
You need to purchase a TV licence if you intend to 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 and the maximum penalty for watching TV without one is £1,000 – so it’s probably safer to bite the bullet and buy one.
Buildings insurance is the cover that protects the structure of your home, along with any permanent fixtures and fittings within it.
In a rented property, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to pay for the building’s insurance, because they own the property.
Unlike buildings insurance, your landlord is not responsible for contents insurance – this is one of the bills you have to pay when renting.
Contents insurance covers everything else in your home – all your belongings, like your furniture, your TV, carpets, jewellery, paintings, curtains and so on.
It’s important that you organise contents insurance as soon as you move into a new rental property to ensure you’re covered straight away.
Contents insurance for renting shouldn’t be expensive and it’s a good idea to shop around to find the best deal. However, it’s important to make sure you’re not under-insured – it could mean you end up out of pocket if you ever need to make a claim.
It might be the case that you’re required to pay a service charge for the gardening of outdoor spaces or the cleaning of communal areas. It should state in your tenancy agreement whether you’re responsible for paying a service charge.
With so many bills you have to pay when renting, it’s important to properly budget and do all you can to cut down the costs.
Here are our top tips to manage the bills you have to pay when renting: