How to Set Up Bills in a Student House
Bills are one of the biggest sources of stress and friction in a student house. It’s why we offer all our properties with bills included!
Do Student Houses Have to Pay Bills?
Yes – but not always in the same way. At Uni2, all our properties have bills included to save you the stress and hassle of managing unpredictable bills and how to split them fairly. Want to save yourself the hassle? Find your perfect student property today.
In other student houses, you may have to organise and set up your own bills. We’ve created this guide for students wanting to find out what’s ahead of them or for those of you already in a house without bills included.
We’ve put this guide together to make bills less confusing, and to help you set up a system in your student house that’s fair for everyone.
What Bills Do You Need to Pay in a Student House?
First, you need to understand just what sort of bills you’ll need to pay:
- Internet – You’ll need fast and reliable broadband with a high or unlimited data cap. Some broadband providers offer entertainment, movie and sport packages along with their internet. These can be pricey, but you’ll probably pay less if you pay for everything from one provider.
- TV – If you don’t want to get a broadband and entertainment package, you can save money by sticking to Freesat or Freeview. But whatever you do, bear in mind you’ll also have to pay for your TV licence.
- Gas and Electricity – These can be expensive if you pay for them separately. But you can often save money with a dual fuel tariff – which means paying for both gas and electricity from the same provider.
- Water – This is the one utility for which you can’t shop around for other suppliers. You’re stuck with whoever supplies your area.
Setting Up Bills Before You Move In
It can usually take a bit of time to set up broadband in a new house. And you’ll certainly want a fast and reliable broadband connection from the moment you move in. So it’s a good idea to set up your internet in advance – after you sign your rental agreement, but before you get your keys.
Some companies offer special broadband deals for students. You’ll sometimes have to pay a one-off installation fee, which is usually about £9.99, followed by monthly fees, which can be up to £35 a month depending on the package you choose.
Bear in mind that some providers will offer you deals based on set contracts, often between 18 and 24 months. Some students only intend to stay in their accommodation for a single academic year. So when applying, it’s worth asking if you’ll be able to transfer the contract to a new property.
Here’s a great comparison site for student broadband deals to get you started.
Setting Up Bills After You Move In
When you first move in to your student house, the building should already be hooked up for gas, water, and electricity. You’ll be able to turn on all the taps, hobs, heating, and electric.
But from the moment your tenancy starts, you’ll take on responsibility for paying for all utilities from the existing provider. Your letting agent or landlord should be able to tell you who this is.
Once you know who’s providing your utilities, contact them immediately. Let them know you’re the new tenant, and they’ll set up a new billing system.
Depending on the situation, you may have to contact three different providers – one for water, one for gas, and one for electricity. Though your gas and electricity may come from the same supplier.
Once you know who you’re with and how much you’re paying, shop around for the best tariff. If you can save any money, it’s absolutely worth going through the hassle of switching providers! Also check out whether you can save money with a dual fuel tariff for gas and electricity. But remember – you won’t be able to change water suppliers.
Should You Choose Energy Tariffs or Meters for a Student House?
Some utilities providers work on a standard tariff basis, where they’ll charge you a set amount monthly or yearly. Others will work on a meter based system, where you’ll only be charged for the exact amount you use.
The meter system might sound like it could save you money. But in a large house share situation, this isn’t always the case. It’s much easier to budget with a standard tariff, as you’ll know exactly how much you’ll need to pay each month. Plus, a tariff system can help avoid arguments, as you won’t find yourself resenting any housemates that take extra-long showers.
No matter what system you use, you’ll probably have to submit meter readings to your suppliers once you move in, and again every few months after this.
How Much is Council Tax for a Student House?
As a student, you don’t have to pay council tax. However, you do have to tell the government that you’re a student, and apply for an exemption.
Do this as soon as you move in, or you may receive an unwanted and unnecessary council tax bill before long.
How to Split Out Bills in a Student House
As we said above, bills can be one of the biggest sources of friction in a student house. So how can you make things fair to avoid arguments and ensure everyone’s happy?
Here are some ideas:
- Total equality. Forget about charging people based on exactly how much gas, electric, water or broadband they use. That’s just asking for trouble. Instead, agree from the start that you’ll all pay exactly the same amount for bills each month, regardless of who does what. This might sound a little unfair. But trust us – it’s the easiest way!
- Share the load. Don’t just leave everything to one person. Instead, assign a different utility to each housemate. One person could look into gas and electric while another sorts out water, leaving the broadband and TV licence to another, while a further person contacts the council.
- Get a joint bank account for the household. This will help avoid a complicated system of money transfers from housemate to housemate, and from numerous different bank accounts to numerous different suppliers. Instead, you’ll have a single account that all housemates can pay into, and from which all payments can go out.
- There’s an app for that! Apps like Splitwise let you keep tabs on who owes what, and to whom. You can add comments and due dates, so everyone will be able to see a clear breakdown of exactly where you stand at any moment.
Want to Take the Stress Out of Bills?
Though if you really want to take all the stress out of bills, you could just rent a student accommodation in which bills are inclusive.
At Uni 2 Rent, we have high quality affordable student accommodation across Nottingham, and we include bills in the rental price. Find your perfect student property today.