Student Utility Bills – Guide to student house bills | Save Time & Money

Student Utility Bills

 

How to Set up and Pay Student Utility Bills

 

At some point, many university students will have responsibility for paying utility bills and will need to set up utility payments. It’s definitely not one of the glamorous aspects of being a student, and if it’s not something you’ve done before, can be fairly confusing, as well as time consuming.

To help save time and money and take away the confusion, we’ve put together this guide which will walk you through all you need to know and do in order to get your student utility bills set up and paid!

We’ll be covering:

  • Which utilities you’ll need to pay for
  • How to check supply connections
  • How to setup your utility bills
  • The cost of your utility bills
  • How to split bills with student room mates
  • Tips to save money on student utility bills

Let’s get started!

Which Utilities You Need To Pay For

As a student, the main utilities you’ll need to pay bills towards are:

  • Electric
  • Gas
  • Water & Sewage

Then depending on individual circumstance, some students may also have to pay bills towards:

  • A TV Licence 
  • Student Council Tax
  • Contents Insurance
  • Broadband 
  • Digital TV Packages
  • Accommodation Rents

Energy Bills

Gas and electricity bills, typically referred to as ‘Energy Bills’ make up the majority of all utility bill expenses.

Although uncommon in student rentals, if your student home has oil central heating, we would advise speaking to your landlord as oil is normally ordered, paid for, then delivered. The oil tank will need topping up at regular intervals depending on energy consumption.

Water & Sewage Bills

Water and sewage bills cover the cost of water and sewage infrastructure. Full time students are still required to pay water bills, however, a lot of student landlords will include the cost as part of the rent. If your unsure who should pay this, double check with you landlord

How to Check Supply Connections

One of the first things you should do when you move into your new student home, is to check that your electric, gas and water supply are all fully connected.

How To Perform Each Check

  • Electric supply – turn on a light switch
  • Gas supply – turn on a gas cooker or turn on a radiator
  • Water supply – turn on the taps

If each of these services is working as expected, this indicates that the supply is connected. It’s unusual for these services to not be connected. If for some reason they appear not to be connected, reach out to your landlord right away.

How to Take Meter Readings

Once you’ve confirmed your energy services are fully connected, the next thing to do is to take the meter readings.

Why Take Meter Readings?

From the date a tenancy commences, the tenant is placed by the energy suppliers on what’s called a “deemed contract”.  This is automatically set up by any energy suppliers the previous tenant used, unless your landlord has set it up otherwise.

A deemed contract will be slightly more expensive than a standard contract but will only last up until the day you switch or confirm your new tenancy with an existing energy supplier.

Taking the meter readings at the start of a new tenancy is important, as it ensures you only pay for the energy you consume during your tenancy.

Taking the Meter Readings

All student properties will have electric meters but not all properties will have a gas meter.

Meters will normally be located in cubbyholes near the main front or back entrance, outside in meter boxes or they can also be located in basements or cellars.

In most flats and apartments all the meters for each flat or apartment, will normally be located together in the same place, with the meter for your flat or apartment labelled accordingly.

If you have trouble finding the meter(s) have a read through any information packs you may have been provided, otherwise give your landlord a shout.

Check out the articles below which explain how to take meter readings and what the different numbers on the meters mean.

How to take an electric meter reading

How to take a gas meter reading

Setting up Student Utility Bills

Find the current suppliers

Once you have all the meter readings, the next priority is to find out who the current energy suppliers are.

Quick Tip: See if there are any utility bills lying around to quickly identify who the current energy suppliers are or ask your landlord as they may already know. Don’t open any letters or bills addressed to a specific name as this is deemed illegal. Look for letters addressed to the ‘Current Occupier’ or ‘Current Tenant’, as those letters you can legally open.

Find the Electric Supplier

In order to find out who the electric supplier is, you will first need to know the energy network.

Use this Energy Networks Association postcode search tool which will provide you with the name and telephone number of your network operator. The network operator will be able to tell you who supplies your electricity.

Find the Gas Supplier

Use the Find My Supplier tool to find your gas supplier. It will provide you with the name of your supplier and a meter point reference number, aka ‘MRPN’. Take note of the MRPN, the supplier will use this to locate your gas meter.

Contact Suppliers

Once you have the supplier details, make contact and provide them with your tenancy details and the meter readings you took earlier. When the supplier has this information you will be transferred onto the standard tariff.

The Cost of Student Utility Bills

Various factors such as location, time of year, house insulation, number of house mates, living habits etc etc, will all play a part in how much you end up paying, so use the costs displayed below as more of an indication.

This table show the average monthly costs students typically spend on gas and electric each month.

House SizeElectric Gas Combinded
1 - 2 Bed£45£44£89
3 - 4 Bed£70£69£139
5 Bed£90£89£179
7 Bed£110£105£215

Since these are ball mark figures, at the start of your tenancy, we recommend setting aside a monthly budget to cover the likely cost of your utility bills until your able to work out your own average monthly spend as the year progresses.

Keep reading as we’ll soon outline some great money saving tips!

How to Split Bills with Student Room Mates

That last thing you want is to end up arguing with your house mates over who should pay what.

When it comes to who’s responsible for which payments, student housemates will need to decided and agree how the payments will be shared equally.

Every student home will be unique but there are a few things you can do which will make managing any shared bill payments easier.

Place all Names on the Bills

By law, if only one persons name is on the bill, then that person is solely responsible for the bill payments. Placing all housemates names on each of the bills spreads this responsibility. With jointly named utility bills, every housemate is responsible for an equal share of the bill.

This is the fairest way to share bills, it also incentives everyone to pay on time, in order to avoid getting a bad credit score. If you use this method, only those individuals who fail to pay, will be given a bad credit score.

Split Responsibilities

Split the responsibility for each of the bills between housemates. As an example, one housemate would take responsibility for electric, another for gas and another for broadband.

Once bill responsibilities have been allocated, each time a bill payment is due, the person who has been allocated to pay that bill can ensure each housemate has paid their share of the bill and that the bill is paid on time.

If you decide to take this approach, ensure that everyone is responsible enough to meet any payment deadlines and the bills don’t get forgotten or missed.

Use a Joint Bank Account

Set up a joint bank account in each housemates name and fund the account with a monthly kitty.

With a joint bank account, two or more housemates can manage the same account. This can also be used to pay the bills from, once money has been pooled together into a kitty.

Estimate the overall monthly costs of the bills and split the costs between each housemate. Each housemate can then pay their share of the estimated amount into the account each month. If there are any funds left in the account at the end of the tenancy, once all bills payments have been met, this can then be divided up between housemates. It could even be used for one final house party!

Use Bill Splitting Apps

There are a number of free bill spiting apps available which are a great way to manage bill payments between several student housemates.

Apps like splitwise or splitoo allow you to request payments from each housemate, keep track of who’s paid, who owes what and provide notification for bill payment due dates.

Tips to save money on utility bills

  1. Ask about bills getting included in the rent
  2. Shop around for the best deals
  3. Always read the small print
  4. Choose the right traffic and contract length (Ideally 12 months max as a student)
  5. Sort your bills out as soon as possible
  6. Take regular meter readings & avoid estimates (Check out smart meters)
  7. Don’t set water and heating temperatures too high
  8. Ensure radiators are drained
  9. Don’t block radiators with furniture
  10. Use a radfan
  11. Take showers instead of baths
  12. Turn of lights and plug switches when not in use
  13. Wear warm cosy clothing when chilling out

 

If your still looking for a student home or starting to think about moving next year? Check out our property listings.

 

 

Choosing Student Accommodation – Checklist

Chooosing Student Accommodation

Things you should check when choosing student accommodation!

Choosing student accommodation can be fairly time consuming. It can also cost you money if you make the wrong choice. In order to help you get ahead in the race to finding student accommodation we have put together a checklist every student should go through before choosing their next student home.

 

List your requirements and ask questions

Student Accommodation Requirements

Before you arrange a viewing put together a list of your requirements. When you reach out to the landlord or agent ask them on each of your requirements. This will save time for both you and the landlord when choosing student accommodation.

Choosing Student Accommodation – Work Out Your Budget

Student Accommodation Budget

This one may seem obvious but for many student it can be tempting to want to live in luxury student accommodation. Although it will look amazing and provide bragging rights, it can also leave you with a tight budget and increase your student debts. Try to stick to a student property you can genuinely afford. To help calcuate your renting budget, give this Rent Calculator a go.

Location Location Location

Things to consider in regards to the location are:

  • How easy is it for you to get to your campus
  • Are there decent transport links
  • Are there plenty of shops and supermarkets nearby
  • Is the area deemed safe, is the area noisy etc.

While viewing, it’s also worth taken a stroll and getting a feel for the area, you can also do this beforehand using something like google maps.

Record your Visit

Recording Student Home Viewings

Often during a visit, there’s lots to take in and you may not notice everything. Use your phone to record your visit so you can review back the footage later. This is also useful if you’re viewing on behalf of others.

Choosing Student Accommodation – Check for Damp 

Damp can be a real nightmare which leads to damaged clothes, a bad smell and potential health issues. Check walls, ceilings and skirting boards for mould or watermarks and if the room feels cold or looks newly painted, give the walls a touch and ensure that they’re dry.

Fixtures and Fittings

Check things like curtains, desks, and chairs are included and there are a sufficient number of power points in each of the rooms. It can be frustrating to suddenly realize your room has a limited number of power points.

Heating and Insulating

Heating and Insulation

During the winter months trying to study in a cold house can be frustrating and uncomfortable. Things to check for are double glazed windows, well-spaced heating systems, secure doors and windows and no signs of damp on walls and ceilings. 

Electrical Appliances and Whitegoods

The last thing you want is to move into a home which is missing or has inadequate white goods such as a small fridge or no washing machine or freezer. Double-check these are included and meet your expected requirements.

Choosing Student Accommodation – Bills

Student Bills

Energy bills can be one of the biggest costs students face. If bills are included in your rent, great but check if there are any max limits and find out how you’d make payments if those limits are reached. If not included, ask for the energy efficiency rating which can give you an idea on monthly costs.

Some landlords also include broadband as part of the rent or offer to give a reduction in price. It’s worth checking if there is an existing landline in the property. If you do require broadband check out our overview on the best student broadband deals and save some money.

View in person

We’d recommend where possible to always view the property in person, it’s a fairly big risk to accept a property without seeing it yourself. Sometimes a friend may view on your behalf, other times you just can’t get there for various reasons. If you genuinely cant view it yourself in person, get as many details as possible and do some research to check all is legit. 

Revisit If Needed

If you’ve done all the above but are still undecided you can always arrange for a second viewing, sometimes on the second viewing you’ll see things you didn’t notice the first time around, a second viewing can also put you at ease and help you reach a decision.

Where to Find Student Accommodation

Here at DiggzHunter, we have a wide range of student properties, start searching to find your perfect student diggz.

 

 

 

 

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