Accurate meter readings are incredibly important for both tenants and landlords.
They ensure that landlords don’t get unexpected bills and that tenants pay what they should.
Whilst more and more homes are becoming equipped with smart meters, eliminating the need for manual readings, many rental properties don’t offer this feature, making meter readings essential.
Before the start of your tenancy
Accurate meter readings at the tenancy’s start are necessary as they ensure that the right person’s paying for the energy consumed during their occupancy.
If, for example, you begin your tenancy without informing the energy company that you’ve moved in and don’t provide an accurate meter reading, you can quickly become in debt, and your landlord may receive your bills.
As a result, it’s recommended that you take accurate meter readings while your landlord or letting agent is present at the check-in stage of your tenancy.
It’s also wise to place the record on your signed inventory so there’s no room for dispute. Taking pictures of your meter readings with timestamps can be beneficial if any problems arise.
During the tenancy
During your tenancy, ensure that you take meter readings regularly and update your energy provider with the new readings; otherwise, you could receive an unexpected bill. If suppliers don’t have accurate readings, they’ll calculate estimates based on past consumption.
If you feel you’re overpaying, take your meter reading and compare this to the estimated reading on your next bill. Contact the energy company immediately if there’s a substantial difference in these figures.
This process should be done regularly because if the estimated reading is lower than your actual reading, you could face a bill for the difference when you leave the property.
Dealing with disputes
If you have energy disputes, there are several places that you can go for advice, including the .gov website.
Any problems you have regarding billing should first be directed to your supplier. If you have any questions or need guidance, the Citizens Advice consumer service can help you, providing independent and impartial advice on your energy supply. If your supplier’s unable to resolve your complaint, then contact the Energy Ombudsman.
At the end of the tenancy
Taking meter readings at the end of your tenancy when your landlord has inspected the property is critical. If you fail to take one at the end of your tenancy and notify the provider you’ve left, you may keep getting charged for energy that someone else is using.
Like during check-in, note the final readings on your signed inventory when you pass your keys back to the landlord and contact the energy company immediately to notify them you’ve left. Make sure to leave an address to which they can send outstanding bills, so you can settle any money you owe.