Switching energy supplier as a tenant
Think you can't switch your energy supplier because you live in rented accommodation? Most of the time, this isn't the case...
If you’re renting, you might think you don’t have a say over who supplies your electricity and gas and that you’re not entitled to switch to a new deal.
In fact, if you have a standard meter and pay your own gas and electricity bills, you’re free to switch supplier and it’s really hassle-free to do so.
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If you’re still not sure about when you can and can’t switch energy supplier as a tenant, we’ve got loads of information to help you….
Changing your gas & electricity supplier
In general, if you - and the other people you live with, if any - are responsible for paying your energy bills, then you have the freedom to switch.
It might be a good idea to let your landlord know that you intend to switch - and, in fact, this could even be a requirement of your rental agreement.
Landlord energy bill management
If your landlord pays your energy bills and the cost is included in your monthly rent or you pay the landlord when bills arrive, you will not be able to switch supplier as it needs to be your name on the account in order to make a switch.
However, if you have a have a good relationship with your landlord, you could always ask them to change energy suppliers on your behalf - it might be worth carrying out a comparison so you can find the best deal and let them know when you speak to them.
How landlords calculate your energy use
Often, landlords will simply send tenants a copy of the bill and ask for funds to be transferred to cover the bill amount.
However, sometimes landlords will roll the cost of all your bills into your rent. If this is the case, you might not be sure whether what you are being charged accurately for your energy usage.
If so, it might be a good idea to speak to your landlord and ask to see copies of the bills, so you can be sure you’re not over or under-paying.
Handling unfair practices
If you are renting in a house or apartment and suspect that your landlord is overcharging you, the first step is to ask them how they’re are calculating your energy usage or ask to see the bills.
If they refuse and you can’t resolve the issues, visit Citizens Information for further details on your rights.
What you are charged for
You can only be charged for the energy you use within your apartment or home. Any communal lighting/heating etc. - i.e. in hallways of an apartment block - will usually be covered by the management fee, which is usually factored into your rent.
Repairs and regulations
If you are renting accommodation, any repairs to your central heating or electrics are not your responsibility, they are the landlord’s.
Your landlord is also responsible for making sure that any appliances they provide you with meet all health and safety regulations.
Finding a cheaper energy supplier
Once you’ve let your landlord know that you intend to switch, finding a cheaper energy supplier is really easy.
All you need to do is complete an energy comparison, choose the supplier you want to go with, and fill in a few details - like your address, gas and electricity meter numbers (GPRN and MPRN), and a meter reading.
We’ll then handle the switch for you with your new supplier and you can start saving on those bills. For more information on how to switch, check out our dedicated guide.
Why would I not be able to switch energy as a tenant?
The main reason you may not be able to switch energy supplier as a tenant would be if the landlord has had a prepayment meter installed.
Unlike other methods of paying for energy, where payment is usually done bi-monthly or monthly, prepay electricity or prepay gas meters require topping up before energy is used. This means that you cannot use more energy than you can afford.
If you really don’t want to use prepay energy, speak to your landlord to see if they would be happy for you to have the prepay meter removed by the supplier and a regular meter reactivated/reinstalled.
What to do when moving out of rented accommodation
If you are moving out of your rented accommodation and you currently pay your bills yourself, you’ll need to close off the account before you leave.
To do this:
- take a final meter reading on the day you move out;
- call the supplier to let them know you’re moving out and give them this meter reading;
- ask for a final bill to be sent out based off this meter reading;
- inform your landlord you’ve taken these steps and arrange payment of the final bill with them.