As a Tenant, can I switch energy supplier?
If you’re a tenant, and rent your home, did you know you’re entitled to switch gas and electricity supplier to your choice of energy provider, as long as you are responsible for paying your own bills?
As a tenant you might assume that you’re not able to change the energy supplier for your rented home, or simply forget to shop around and compare. Anyone who rents a property and pays their own bills is entitled to switch to a cheaper energy supplier.
How do I switch to a cheaper energy supplier?
The easiest way to find out if you could pay less for your gas and electric is to compare energy providers. To get the most accurate idea of how much you could save it’s best to have your recent energy consumption information to hand and your postcode. Grab a copy of your most recent energy bill and see how much you could save. Switching is quick and easy and can often be all done online with the minimum of hassle.
What if my landlord pays my bills?
Some rental agreements may include your bills such as student lets. If your landlord pays your bills as part of your tenancy agreement then unfortunately you cannot change your supplier. There’s nothing to say you can’t ask your landlord however, as they may not be aware of a better deal and may be open to switching if it can save on bills.
There’s a clause in my tenancy agreement about energy suppliers, can I still switch?
Yes. Technically, a landlord can ask that you obtain their consent before switching providers, but according to The Office of Fair Trading ‘the landlord’s consent cannot be unreasonable withheld or delayed” so, whilst it’s reasonable to request you keep them informed, they cannot reasonably stop you from switching supplier.
I’m a student, can I switch energy supplier?
It depends on whether you are living in accommodation with ‘All-inclusive’ bills included as part of your rent or not. If so, it’s likely that your landlord will want to choose who your energy supplier is. However, if your rent doesn’t include bills then you do have the right to choose your own supplier.
Being a student is a time which money can be particularly tight, so shopping around for the best deal on your utilities is really a no-brainer, and according to energy regulator Ofgem, you can save an average of £200 on your annual energy bill when you switch.
When can my landlord charge me for gas and electricity?
There are a few, specific circumstances when your landlord may still insist on you paying your energy bills direct to them. Firstly, it must be expressly stated in your tenancy agreement. If your contract states you are to pay your energy bills directly to your landlord then you will not be expected to pay anything direct to an energy supplier.
Situations where you may be expected to pay your landlord direct are if for example, you live on a caravan park and you pay the owner of the land for your energy use, or similarly if you live in a houseboat and pay the owner of the moorings for your energy usage.
How much can my landlord charge for energy?
Fortunately, your landlord can’t charge what they want for your energy supply. By law there is a maximum resale price which is set by law. How much depends on how your energy consumption is recorded;
If your energy use is recorded by a meter then you should be charged per unit and your proportion of any appropriate standing charges. Also, even if the landlord has a business agreement with the energy company you should be charged their domestic rate, which can differ.
If you don’t have a meter, then your landlord must be able to show you how your costs are estimated, if they can’t and you think you may have been overcharged, then you could be able to ask for compensation.
In summary, in most cases, renting your home should not stop you from getting the best deal for your energy supply. Why not compare and see how much you could save?