The cost of utility bills can affect everyone, especially those in rented accommodation, who may fall into rental arrears if their bills are too expensive. Therefore, landlords should help to reduce tenants energy bills and ensure that their tenants find the best deal out there.
Every landlord handles their tenants’ utility bills in different ways, often depending on the type of tenancy. For instance, student properties may benefit from the landlord paying the utility bills, as agreements are usually only for a year.
However, if a landlord is responsible for paying bills, it may be more difficult to solve any issues a tenant has with the gas or electricity. If problems are not solved quickly, tenants could claim that their landlord is being negligent.
Should Landlords Help to Reduce Tenants’ Energy Bills?
Whoever pays for utility bills is initially dependant on whether the energy supply is on when the tenant moves into the property. If they are turned on, then whoever is living within the home should technically pay the bills. Nevertheless, if the landlord’s name is on the bills, they are responsible. This issue is crucial if the property is in a void period.
At the beginning of a tenancy, it should be specified who is to pay the bills. Both have pros and cons:
- If a tenant pays the bills, then there is less paperwork for the landlord to deal with. This could help the landlord if they are managing a large property portfolio.
- Landlords may be able to choose the same gas and electricity deal from one supplier for all of their properties if they decide to pay. Therefore, they will always get the best deal.
- If tenants cannot make a utility bill payment, the landlord may have to sort out the problem.
- Tenants may have an issue with the supplier of their gas and electricity if the landlord takes responsibility, and the landlord will be accountable for sorting the matter.
Tenants will always want the cheapest offer available, and landlords can aid them by searching for the best deal. This could also avoid tenants falling into rent arrears. Landlords can research every year to confirm that the supplier is still providing a competitive service. It is important to remember, also, that some suppliers are more expensive, but include other benefits, such as boiler servicing.
Energy efficiency can also bring the cost of tenants’ utility bills down. It will also be a requirement of the Government that all private rented accommodation must have an energy efficiency rating of at least E by 2018. If a property does not, it will not be suitable for letting.
Fortunately, the Government’s Green Deal allows landlords to have renovation work on their properties to improve its energy efficiency for free. The repayments will be made through utility bills, and are thought to significantly reduce utility bill costs.