Student Bills Explained
When it comes to sorting out bills, a lot of students find this daunting and will more than likely choose a property based on it providing a bills included package. However, this can be a lot more expensive than sorting it out yourself.
As this will be the first-time most students have to sort bills, it can seem like a big responsibility and many will not know how or what to do. However, with bills included packages, they can be a lot more expensive. Learning to pay bills at University will help you become more independent and helps you prepare for future life.
If you are going in to your first year at University, the majority of students choose halls due to it seeming easier as bills are included in the rental price. However, renting in the private rented sector is a lot cheaper than University managed halls. Please check our recent article for more information regarding this.
What bills do i need to set up?
There are a lot of things to think about when moving in to a new property on top of thinking what bills need to be paid. Therefore, we have listed some of the most common student utility bills below:
Gas and Electricity:
When it comes to utility bills, the two likely bills to be your biggest expenses are gas and electricity. You can pay for them separately using different providers or some energy providers combine the two together.
When you first move into the property, it is more than likely that the house will already be supplied with energy. This means that you will be able to use the lights and cooker etc. However, you will need to inform the utility providers that you have recently moved in. You are able to find out your energy suppliers by visiting the following website – click here. Alternatively, your landlord or letting agent may also keep a record.
Once you have found out who supplies your energy, you will need to contact them and tell them the date you moved in. They will then require you to set up a new account with them. Whilst setting up your new account they will ask you to provide the meter readings for the property. To provide meter readings, you will need to locate the meter readers. These are usually located in the hallway, kitchen or under the stairs. However, if you are living in a flat, these may be found in the communal area.
You will only be responsible for paying for usage from the start of the tenancy. If you receive a bill which is dated before your tenancy started, you will need to contact the letting agent or landlord.
It is always best to spend time and search for the best deals. Take time and compare energy suppliers – there isn’t a cheapest tariff as it will depend on your region and usage.
Water and Sewerage:
With water, there is only one supplier per region making it a little more straightforward. This means that unlike gas and electricity, you are unable to change the provider. You will be able to find out who your supplier is by visiting this website – click here. If you have a water meter, make sure to provide the supplier with the reading as soon as you move in. You do not want to be charged for water you have not used. You will also be responsible for paying sewerage charges. Some companies provide just water services and some provide water and sewage.
Tips for saving on water:
- Only use the washing machine when its full
- Never boil more water than you need
- Don’t leave taps running
- Use a washing up bowl
If you plan on watching any live television or any BBC content (including BBC iPlayer), by law, you must own a TV licence. This applies to all devices such as TV, laptop, tablet and on your mobile phone. If you have an individual tenancy agreement (rent a room), you will need to purchase your own individual licence. If you have a joint and several agreement, you will only need to purchase one licence for the whole household. From 1 April 2019, the TV Licence will cost you £154.50.
Broadband is important for students due to needing the internet for working at home as well as using it for leisure. There can be some fantastic deals available for students, however, it is all about finding the right one for you. You will need to look at connection speed, data allowance and the contract length. Don't typically go for the cheapest as there will be a few of you using the internet at one time, so you will need the most efficient connection. Therefore, you need to ensure you have a good package. It is a highly competitive market which results in plenty of great deals for consumers. Therefore, it is essential that you search and look around for the right deal. There are many comparative sites online which will help.
Full time students enrolled with a university or college are exempt from Council Tax if you are sharing a house with other full-time students. You will need to contact the council and apply for an exemption.
So, what happens if someone you share with isn’t a full-time student? If this is the case, then the property will not be exempt from council tax and a bill will be issued. However, the individual who is liable to pay the council tax may be able to qualify for a discount.
For Bournemouth University Students, click here to visit the Government website.
For all other Universities, please visit your local councils’ website.
Setting Up Your Bills:
Now that we have established what bills there are, the next step is to set them up. You will need to search for the best providers and packages. However, make sure you carefully read what you are signing up to. Do not just sign up for the first provider that you come across. You can find your current utility providers for your property by searching online.
Utility companies will usually want the payment from one bank account. With your housemates, you will need to discuss who you wish this to be – if you are using your own account, you need to ensure that your housemates pay you on time. They may benefit from setting up a standing order, ensuring that they do not miss payments.
- Putting money aside a month along with your rent money to avoid spending it.
- Read the small print and know exactly what you are signing up for.
- Turn the lights off when they are not needed.
- Put on extra layers before putting the heating on.