Three quarters of tenants who pay their own bills have never changed electricity or gas supplier to get a better deal, says Ofgem, the energy regulator.
One in five renters are not even aware that they can switch provider, even though they could save up to £200. Tenants are just half as likely to change compared to homeowners.1
Landlords should encourage tenants to look around for the best deals, and always remind potential tenants to consider the whole cost of renting, including the bills.
Recently, the Be an Energy Shopper campaign emphasised tenants’ rights to change their energy supplier if they hold responsibility for paying the bills. Information can be found at: www.goenergyshopping.co.uk/en-gb/tenants
Some tenancy agreements state that tenants must inform their landlord before switching supplier, however, if they are directly responsible for paying such bills, then they have the right to change. Even if there is a clause in the contract saying that tenants cannot switch, if they pay energy bills, they should be free to decide who they use.
Good communication between landlord and tenant will ensure that the landlord is aware of any changes that the tenant makes regarding energy supplier. The landlord can also request that the provider be changed back at the end of the tenancy.
Some landlords provide their properties with bills included. In this case, tenants cannot switch provider, as it is the landlord who has the contract with the energy company.
If the landlord holds the account, they too can shop around for a better deal.
Some useful tips on saving money:
- Ask the tenant to take meter readings upon moving in and out of the property, to be sent to the energy provider.
- Identify any supplier tie-ins at the start of the agreement to the tenant.
- Tell the tenants if they must inform you when changing energy suppliers.
- Remember that if the tenant pays the bills, they are entitled to change provider.