Recent research from Ofgem, the energy regulator, found that three-quarters of bill-paying tenants have never switched electricity or gas supplier in order to get a better deal. One in five tenants aren’t even aware that it is possible to switch provider despite the fact they could save up to £200 and renters are only half as likely to switch compared to homeowners.
Good landlords may want to encourage tenants to shop around for the best deal, and remind tenants to consider the total cost of living in a property, including the bills, rather than just the rent alone.
The Be An Energy Shopper Campaign has recently highlighted the rights of tenants to switch energy suppliers if they are responsible for paying their energy bills directly. You can find out the facts here: (www.goenergyshopping.co.uk/en-gb/tenants)
Some rental contracts can stipulate that tenants inform the landlord before switching energy supplier, but the point to remember is that where a tenant is directly responsible for paying the energy bill they have the right to choose their own energy supplier. Even if there is a clause in the tenancy agreement that says tenants can’t switch suppliers, if the tenant is responsible for the bills in the property then they should be free to decide which suppliers to use.
With good communications between landlord and tenant, the landlord will be kept informed of any change and the tenant will return the account to the original supplier at the end of their tenancy.
www.goenergyshopping.co.uk provides all the information required to help people be an energy shopper and, if your tenants aren’t online, there is a printable “easy guide” which you can give new tenants.
Of course, there are some landlords who offer their properties for rent inclusive of bills and, in this case, the tenant will not be able to switch, because it’s the landlord who has the contract with the energy company, not the tenant.
If this applies to you, it’s not just tenants who can shop around for a better deal on gas and electricity. As a landlord with your own energy bills to think about, you should also shop around for the best deal
TOP TIPS FOR BUDGET-CONSCIOUS LANDLORDS AND RENTERS
- Ask your tenant to take meter readings when they move in and out of rented accommodation and send them to the energy supplier
- Highlight any supplier tie-ins upfront to your tenant,
- Ensure your tenants know if the contract obliges them to let you know if they intend to switch supplier
- Remember: if the tenant is responsible for paying the gas and electricity bill, they are entitled to switch at any time, and you can’t unreasonably prevent them from doing so.
It’s never been easier to be an energy shopper so visit goenergyshopping.co.uk and you could save up to £200!
This content has been provided by Ofgem