What Bills Do You Pay When Renting A Property?

When you’re looking to move out and rent your own place, of course, the actual cost of your rent is likely to be the first thing on your mind while searching for your perfect home. And with good reason - rent is probably going to be your biggest outgoing cost each month.
Katherine Cuizon

But have you considered what other housing costs you’ll need to pay for? Do you know whether you’ll be paying for your own utilities, WiFi, or TV license?

We’ve got the lowdown on exactly which bills you’ll likely have to pay when renting, along with cost examples of each.

What bills may you be expected to pay when renting?

It helps to be aware of the bills you may be required to pay before you choose a property you’d like to rent - this way, if you’d prefer, you can actively look for properties where certain bills are included within the cost of the rental. Here’s the bills you’re likely to come across:

  • Council tax - you’ll need to pay council tax if you’re above 18 and renting a home, unless you’re a student, fall under these exemptions, or it is included in your rent.
  • Gas and electricity - unless stated otherwise by your landlord, you’ll also have to pay for these utilities in your property. This means finding your own suppliers, and managing the payments each month.
  • Water - unlike gas and electricity, you cannot choose your water supplier. If it’s your responsibility to pay this bill, you need to find out which water supplier covers your area, as it may be more expensive depending on where you choose to rent.
  • Phone and broadband (WiFi) - if it’s not included within the rental cost, you’ll need to find a WiFi provider and pay for the service. You may also need to pay for the cost of a landline.
  • TV license - if you plan on watching or recording something on your TV, you need to pay for a license. This can be paid upfront or in monthly instalments.
  • Other bills - this could include tenants insurance (though this is optional)

Now you’re aware of the bills you’re likely to pay in a rented home, we look at which (if any!) you’ll have to pay in various scenarios.

Bills you’ll need to pay when renting a self contained property

A self contained property is a house or flat that’s rented to 1 person or group of people through 1 contract where the entire property is rented. Typically, in this scenario, you’ll be responsible for paying all bills in addition to paying rent to your landlord. These bills include:

  • Council tax
  • All utilities (including water)
  • Phone and broadband (WiFi) 
  • TV license

If you’re living alone in a self contained property, you’ll be responsible for organising and paying for each of these bills every month. This includes managing various accounts, ensuring bills are paid on time and dealing with any additional charges.

For some renters this isn’t a problem, but if you’re moving out for the first time, paying for all of these bills alone can get expensive very quickly. Here’s an example:

Fatima is a young professional living in a small flat outside of Liverpool city centre. 

Her 1 bed apartment costs her £480 per month. Her flat falls under the Band C council tax, meaning she pays just over £112 in addition to her monthly rent. On top of this, she pays for all her own utilities and WiFi - coming in at £115 per month. She’s recently switched utility providers to get a better deal, after she faced an unexpected electricity charge. Fatima paid the full TV license fee (£157.50) when she moved in, so she doesn’t have a monthly charge for this.

In total housing costs, she spends £707 per month* in a self contained apartment. Living in a 1 bedroom apartment alone is becoming increasingly expensive for her. 

*Based on average living costs & council tax bands in Liverpool.

Bills you’ll need to pay when renting a shared property (not all-inclusive bills)

A shared property is where a group of people (be it friends or strangers) live together in a flat or house. Bills are split between the tenants, and each person has a responsibility to pay their way. Again, much like in a self contained apartment, you’ll likely be responsible for paying the same bills:

  • Council tax
  • All utilities (including water)
  • Phone and broadband (WiFi) 
  • TV license

Shared properties are a great way to reduce the burden on yourself when it comes to paying bills. However, it can be challenging when it comes to choosing providers, and ensuring that bills are split fairly, and paid on time. Let’s take a look at what this looks like:

Simon is a recent graduate living in a shared house on the outskirts of Liverpool

He rents a double room in a 5 bed house with 4 other tenants, and pays £400 per month (not including bills). The house is located in a Band C council tax area, so he pays just over £30 per month when the bill is split between each individual tenant. 

Since there are other tenants living in the house with Simon, his bills (including gas, electricity, water and WiFi) work out roughly at £41 per month. Since he and his housemates did not pay for a TV license fee up front, they are currently splitting the cost monthly at £5.25 each.

In total housing costs, Simon spends roughly £476.25* per month in a shared house. However, his housemates aren’t very reliable. As the one in charge of collecting bill payments from each tenant, he struggles to get everyone to pay him on time - meaning bills often come out of his own pocket, or they are paid late. This is causing a real issue for him, as he doesn’t want to be penalised for the actions of his housemates.

*Based on average living costs & council tax bands in Liverpool.

Shared flats

Bills you’ll need to pay when renting a shared property (with all-inclusive bills)

In contrast to the above example, some shared properties offer the option for all-inclusive bills - where your payments are covered within the rental cost and the accounts managed by the landlord. This has obvious benefits in that you won’t need to worry about remembering to pay bills each month, or being hit with an unexpected charge. 

However, while some shared properties will claim to be “all-inclusive” when it comes to bills, sometimes you may still be expected to pay council tax - so double-check your tenancy agreement to be certain. If your shared property rental price includes the cost of council tax, then the only bill you’ll be responsible for is a TV license, if you require it.

Here’s an example:

Amy lives in the heart of Liverpool in an all-inclusive flat share

She rents a double room with an ensuite in a flat share with other tenants for £500 per month. Amy doesn’t need a TV license, and since her bills (including council tax) are included in the cost of the rental, her total housing costs remain the same - at £500* per month. Even if the price of utilities goes up, she doesn’t have to worry. As she’s in close proximity to the centre, she doesn’t need to spend as much on travel as Simon or Fatima.

Her payments come directly from her account in one sum each month, and she isn’t responsible for collecting her flat mates’ money - so she doesn’t have the stress of managing bill payments. Since Amy decided to move out of her parents’ house for the first time, a flat share with all-inclusive bills was the easiest way to get independence, while finding her own feet.

*Based on the price of a flatshare from Ocasa.

Flatshares with all-inclusive bills options are an excellent way to make the transition into living alone - as you can focus on adjusting to your new life, instead of worrying about juggling various accounts and bill payments.

But no matter what kind of property you decide to rent, it’s essential that you always consider how much your bills will be in addition to your rent, as it will help you understand how prepared you are to make the move. 

Want to see how ready you are to rent your own property? Read our free guide on how to rent for the first time, and learn everything you need to do to prepare.

renting bills