Tips for tenants: Setting up your utilities

Posted 22 July 2014

So it's your first day in your new home, and you've met a few of the neighbours, wired up the TV, checked the heating works and ordered your first takeaway. Now it's time to set up the utility bills!

Contacting utility companies will probably be the last thing on your mind, and it's certainly dull and time consuming, but we all have to do it. Here's a quick guide to make things a little less stressful.

Council Tax

The previous tenants should have informed the local council of their moving out date, and now it's up to you to let them know you've moved in. Many councils offer an online service where you can register for tax, make changes to your account and put direct debits in place to avoid any nasty surprises. To find out more about the specifics of council tax, you can check our handy guide here.

Energy and water

The current energy and water suppliers at the property should have sent you a letter inviting you to continue using their services. If not, you will have to contact your landlord to find out who provides energy to the home. When you eventually speak to utility companies, you could be drawn in to a lengthy conversation about price promises, contract periods and payment plans - so it is certainly useful to do some research beforehand.

Internet and line rental

Younger tenants may consider a few weeks without the internet to be a life-changing problem, so it's best to get online as soon as possible, and first you will need a phone line. If the line was disconnected by the previous tenant, you may have to wait as long as a month before you can reconnect. You can find out the status of your line by contacting BT. Most companies sell line rental and broadband together, so shop around to get the best deal.

TV licence

Many tenants overlook TV licensing until they receive the threatening ‘we are watching you' notice in the post. Thankfully, your TV licence is very easy to set up online, with lots of payment options available. If you want to avoid the menacing van outside your home, this is £145.50 you'll have to spend.


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