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What Your Landlord Can Charge You For EnergyBy admin
Thursday, 24 October 2019
If you own your property, it’s much easier to budget because you know that you have a responsibility to cover whatever costs occur. While this may end up costing more, there’s no illusion that someone else will come along and scoop up any expenses.
However, when you’re renting the position can be far less clear. Between council, social housing and private rental there can be a vast discrepancy about what’s included and what you’re permitted to do.
If you’re wondering what your landlord can charge you for energy, keep reading to find out the answer...
Understanding Your Responsibilities
When you move into a rented accommodation it’s important to understand exactly what’s expected of you. This includes your responsibilities for the upkeep of the property as well as the costs which you should be paying.
Unfortunately, there’s not one single standard answer as every set-up is different. Some landlords opt to be more generous than others, while some only provide the bare minimum which they’re required to by law.
Your obligations should be outlined clearly in your tenancy agreement so it’s important that you’re provided with a copy of this document, and that you read it. You should have been given a copy to read through and sign before you moved in.
Your tenancy agreement will explain the bills that you are responsible for paying, and what’s included in the monthly rental cost. In some cases, energy bills will be bundled together and included in the total monthly sum. If so, this means you aren’t responsible for paying the bills directly from the supplier.
Rental properties typically have meters so it’s possible to measure exactly how much energy you’re consuming. If, however, you don’t have a smart meter your landlord must estimate your usage
How Much Should I Be Paying?
Once you’ve established where the responsibilities lie, if energy costs are being met by your landlord part of your monthly payment will be to cover the bill. However, if you’re not receiving a separate bill, you might be wondering whether you’re paying too much.
However, there are very strict laws on exactly what your landlord can charge; they can’t simply slap a huge charge on top of your rental without any justification.
For energy, your landlord is limited to charging you for:
• The amount of energy you’ve actually used
• Your proportion of the standing fee
• VAT (which is 5% for energy costs).
The law does not allow landlords to charge more than the above, and profit from it. The above maximum is known as “maximum resale price”.
If your tenancy agreement does not bundle up energy costs and include them in your monthly payment, you will be responsible for paying the supplier yourself. Your landlord cannot levy any additional costs for gas or electricity if you pay the supplier directly
Are There Any Circumstances Where I Might Have to Pay More?
Although the law is very specific about exactly how much a landlord can charge their tenant, there is an exception to the restricted charges described above.
Some properties might have something known as Green Deal finance; if this is the case you could have to pay a little more. This is to cover finance provided under a scheme which improves the energy efficiency of a property. Examples include double glazing or insulation.
If Green Deal applies to your property, your landlord should have informed you of the higher energy costs before you signed the tenancy agreement.
Here at Home Logic we can help lower your energy bills, even if you’re a tenant. You might need to get permission from your landlord to make certain changes, like installing a smart meter, but they must be able to provide a reasonable excuse to deny the request!
What Happens if You’ve Been Overcharged?
If you believe that your landlord has overcharged you, you’re completely within your rights to ask to see a copy of the bill. Your landlord should be able to explain how they’ve calculated your share of the costs.
If you have paid more than the maximum resale price, you’re entitled to have your energy costs adjusted moving forward. You’re also entitled to a refund for all the surplus you’ve paid for your energy.
This money must legally be repaid to you by your landlord and there is recourse open to you if they refuse to do so. If you’re not able to settle it amicably, you can either approach the Citizen’s Advice Bureau for help or take them to the Small Claims Court.
Home Logic: Getting Smart About Energy
Here at Home Logic we can help lower your energy bills, even if you’re a tenant. You might need to get permission from your landlord to make certain changes, like installing a smart meter, but they must be able to provide a reasonable excuse to deny the request.
If you need any advice on how to lower your energy costs, or the potential savings that could be made, just get in touch with our team of experts today by calling 0800 1700 636, or by simply clicking the button below!Related Home Logic Living Articles
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