390a & 390b Bowthorpe Road, Norwich, NR5 8AG

How do I set up my bills?

Paying rent is just the start when it comes to the cost of renting a house. Many of our houses are let on an all inclusive basis, but in some circumstances you will need to set up utilities and consider any extras you wish to purchase.

The fact is that we all have to deal with managing our bills at some point, but within a shared house, this can be made even more complicated due to the need to split the cost between various people.  Here’s some top tips on setting things up and making life easy for yourself.

1. Set up a house account

In my experience, the best way to manage bills in a shared house is to set up a joint bank account. You can/should do this before you move in so you are ready to go. When you set it up, get everyone to stick £40 in to cover set up costs of the house (cleaning products, loo roll etc.) Then everyone sets up a standing order to pay a further £40 into the account every month. Now all your bills can be paid straight from this account by direct debit. Once a term or at the end of the year, see what’s left, and dish it back out between you.

2. Take meter readings

The first and last thing you should do when renting a house is to take the gas and electricity meter readings (you may also have a water meter). Your landlord should do this with you when you check in to the house, write down the readings, you’ll need them later.

3. Make some calls

You’ll need to get in touch with the existing suppliers of the water, gas and electricity to set up your new accounts. Make sure you have your meter readings to hand. Set up your bills to be paid monthly by direct debit from the joint account you set up earlier, and you’ll never have to think about them again! You don’t need to do this on the day you move in, but you should do it within a week or so, quoting the day your tenancy started not the date you moved in.

4, Optional extras

The chances are, you’ll need a TV licence which you can pay for online here. Speaking of online, you’re also likely to need a broadband package. Shop around of the best deals rather than just defaulting to the big names (Sky & Virgin). Have a think about whether you really need a big digital TV package and a home phone, these are often an unnecessary expense.

5, Consider switching

If your contract allows you to, you may be able to switch your suppliers to get a better deal. Sites like Money Supermarket and Go Compare will show you where you can get your best deal.  You could also consider a site called Bills4Students.com, when you can get your Gas, Electricity and Broadband on one simple bill. You can even add a home phone or mobile phone package, and save money when you recommend them to friends and family.

6, What about Council Tax?

As a student you should be exempt from paying council tax but that does not mean you don’t need to do anything about it. Read more here.

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