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How to set up and manage bills for a student house

Alongside the excitement, moving into a student house share or into your own student digs comes with the responsibility of paying bills. If you’re unsure what you’ll need to pay for, or how to set up your bill payments, use our guide below to help.

Figure out which bills you need to pay

If you're living in a student house, you may be responsible for paying all of the utility bills. This can include:

  • water
  • gas 
  • electricity 
  • broadband

Student halls generally cover the cost of utility bills in the accommodation cost you pay, but this isn’t always the same in a house share. If you’re unsure about what bills you’ll need to pay, ask your landlord or the letting agent. They should be able to tell you. 

You don’t need to pay Council Tax when you’re a full-time student, but you will need to pay for a TV Licence if you need one. You’ll only need to buy one TV Licence to cover the whole property, so you can split the cost between your housemates.

Find the best supplier

You’ll find there’s plenty of choice when it comes to choosing a utility supplier. But with so many providers available, it may feel a little daunting to pick the right ones. 

Your tenant’s agreement may say who the energy supplier is, or you could get a letter to your rented property that’s addressed ‘to the occupier’. You can stay with this provider if you want, or you can use a comparison site to find the best deal for your home.

When it comes to setting up your broadband, find out which suppliers are in your area. You may then want to look at different broadband suppliers to find the best one for your student house. Some suppliers may have student-specific offers which you may be able to take advantage of. 

How to set up bills for student house

Before you start paying anything, you’ll likely need to give a gas or electricity meter reading. This is so you’ll start paying for the energy you use, and not what the previous tenants had used. Make sure to write down the numbers or take a photo. 

Meters are generally kept on the outside of the property, but they may be in a cupboard or a communal area if you live in a flat. You can ask your landlord or letting agent if you're unsure.

How to split bills in a student house

If you’re living with other students, sit down together and work out how you’ll pay your bills. You could try setting up a standing order which would mean the payment is taken automatically from one account.

To make it fair, each housemate could be responsible for paying a different bill if the costs are similar, or everyone could pay into one person’s account each month. Make sure this is agreed on before you start making arrangements and any standing orders are set up.  

Pay your bills on time

You’ll need to make sure your bills are paid on time. You don’t want to run the risk of having any of your utilities turned off or get into arrears if you fail to pay. Make a plan with your housemates on how you’ll cover the cost and set up reminders so you don’t forget.

If you’re an HSBC customer, you may be able to use a tool like Balance After Bills. It shows you how much you could have left for the month ahead, once scheduled bills (standing orders and Direct Debits) are taken into account.

Based on your regular bills, Balance After Bills estimates what you'll owe for the month ahead. It’s then subtracted from your current balance to show you what you could have left. This can help you ensure you don’t overspend.

What next?

To effectively manage your bills, it can be useful to sit down and work out a budget for yourself. You’ll be able to see how much money you have coming in and be able to allocate a certain amount to pay your bills.

To make sure you’re not overpaying or underpaying on your bills, it’s worth keeping track of what you’re spending. If you’re finding it difficult to cover the cost of your utility bills, it may be worth looking at cheaper supplier or rates to bring the cost down. Getting into the habit of regularly reviewing your finances can also be a useful skill for the future. 

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