Property Utility Bills: Who’s Responsible?

Despite what you may think, the responsibility of who pays the bills in a rental property can sometimes come under fire. This doesn’t just mean utilities. Should an appliance break down, who is liable here? If you’re about to list your property via an online property agent, it’s important that you are in the know. 

The importance of a clear, concise tenancy agreement is essential. In it should be stated clearly who is responsible for what, without ambiguity – and this includes who pays for what. In most short-hold tenancies, it’s the tenant who forks out for water, gas and electricity, but this must be actively stated to avoid any confusion or unexpected costs.

When new tenants move into a home, it’s stressful for everyone. One essential element is for the landlord to take accurate meter readings on the first day, to make sure the tenants only pay what they owe when the bills come around. When a lease ends, a final meter reading must be taken, too.

When it comes to getting a good deal, tenants are well within their rights to switch suppliers for a cheaper tariff. If the landlord who rather they stick to one supplier, then this also must be stated in the tenancy agreement.

If a tenant leaves the property owing money for utility bills, the company will often send their account to a debt recovery company. This won’t affect you as a landlord because it is not your name on the bill, so don’t worry.

When heating and cooling appliances in the summer or winter, they are often at their most vulnerable. But who is responsible?

Again, this should be clearly stated in your tenancy agreement. Though, in most cases it is the landlord who must pay to have them repaired. To do this, it is vital the tenant reports the issues quickly for the landlord to respond within a reasonable timeframe.  This does not extend to appliances which are owned by the tenant, and they must see to their own belongings, such as air conditioning units or fans which may pack up during the summer.

During any void periods where the property is left empty, it is down to the landlord to ensure all bills are transferred to their name as they will be liable for payments. Just make sure that they are changed to the new tenants’ names when they move in.

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