Energy costs in shared accommodation

It is important that all housemates pay their share of the energy bills on time, as the person named on the bill is ultimately responsible.

Charges for energy you didn’t use

When you move into a new home there is usually already an existing energy supply.

The previous tenant or landlord should have notified the supplier that they were leaving and arranged to pay for any outstanding energy costs before you move in.

When you first move in, take a note of the meter readings, and a photo if you can. Contact the existing energy supplier and let them know you have moved in. Give them the meter reading to make sure you don’t end up paying for energy you didn’t use.

You don’t have to stick with the existing energy supplier when you move into a new home. Use a price comparison website to see if you can switch suppliers and get a cheaper deal.

Responsibility for bills

In shared accommodation, it is a good idea to split the gas and electricity bills equally. It is cheaper to set up a direct debit to pay your bills.

It is sometimes easier to deal with the energy company if just one of the tenants is named on the utility contract. That person is responsible and liable to pay the whole bill until the end of the contract.The other tenants should pay their share to the tenant named on the bill.

If you’re the only person named on your energy contract, tell the supplier in writing that you’re acting on behalf of the other tenants and that you are all sharing the bills equally. This could help protect you in the event of a dispute.

Your energy supplier may allow you to set up an account that names all tenants on the contract.

You’re all liable to pay the bills until the contract ends if you are all named on the contract. This means that you are responsible for making sure the bills are covered completely, not just your share.

If a flatmate moves out, get a reading for that day and ask your supplier for for a bill so you can split the bill fairly.

Flatmate won’t pay their share

If one of the tenants can’t or won’t pay their share of the energy bills, the other tenants will probably have to pay the missing share.

Tell the energy supplier what is happening. They may give you more time to pay your bill while you resolve the issue.

Try to find out what the problem is. If they can’t afford to pay, discuss the options. To get your money back, you may have to take legal action against a tenant who does not pay.

Find out more from Gov.uk about taking someone to court.

Understanding your bills

You can choose whether you want to receive paper bills or access your bills online.

Your energy bill should tell you the:

  • period that the bill refers to
  • the amount of fuel used or an estimated amount
  • total amount you owe
  • price per unit (for gas and electricity separately)

The most accurate bills are based on meter readings. If your bill is estimated, you could be paying too much or too little. You can ask your supplier to recalculate the bill based on a new meter reading if your bill was estimated.

Always check your bill carefully. Contact your supplier if you have any other queries.

Problems paying fuel bills

If you have problems with fuel bills or debt you can get free, confidential, face-to-face help from specialist Shelter Cymru debt advisers at several locations in Wales. Click here to find details of the debt advice surgeries nearest to you.

You can also contact the Energy Saving Trust.

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 0345 075 5005.

Phone an adviser

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This page was last updated on: November 27, 2018

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.