Lodgers & Utility Bills – Who is responsible?

There is no set rule on how landlords should charge lodgers for the utility bills, they’re usually either inclusive with the rent, or charged separately.

Generally, the utility bills will include the following services:

  • Gas
  • Electricity
  • Water
  • Broadband/Internet

The easiest option is to include utility bills with the rent at a fixed rate, that makes it easier for both you and the lodger, because the lodger will know exactly what he/she needs to pay (which they can then always budget for), and you don’t have to keep calculating how much your lodger needs to pay.

Inclusive of bills

While this is the easiest and most common way to handle utility bills, you still need to be careful.

You need to make sure the tenant doesn’t run up too much of a bill, which would effectually cut into your profits. But at the some time, you need to be fair with your rates, so don’t overcharge unnecessarily.

In reality, it can be a bit of a trial and error process, especially if you’re taking in a lodger for the first time, and you’re used to living alone. But generally, your utility bills shouldn’t rocket if you’re only going to have one lodger. But of course, if you end up with a lodger that showers multiple times a day, it may make a noticeable difference to the gas bill.

You should also take into consideration seasonal trends- the heating/gas bill is most likely to be a lot less during the summer periods compared to the winter.

House Rule

However you arrange for the utility bills to be fairly divided, you should include the procedure in the House Rules so its in writing, that way you both know where you stand, avoiding confusion and disagreements.

The important step is to make clear what is included with the rent, which may or may not include utility bills.