This article provides information on how much money to set aside and budget to cover household bills when living in private accommodation.
When you’re living in private accommodation, usually household bills are not included within the rent.
However, sometimes properties may include a few bills but not all (for example, water and sewage, but not internet, gas and electricity.)
Bills that are included are clearly detailed in each advertisement on Portsmouth StudentPad. If you find a property via a letting agency, if it is not clear what is (or what is not) included in the rent, ask and get it in writing ideally!
For the bills that the tenants do take responsibility for, all tenants share the bills equally between them and you should register all your names on each bill to make it fair with each domestic supplier when you move in.
Try to set aside £20-25 per week per housemate for household (cleaning stuff, toilet rolls etc.) and utility bills. This will vary depending on usage. Try to use appliances economically to help your budget and the environment.
Budget saving tips
Always take meter readings when you move in and give them to the respective utility companies. You should ask these companies to set up a new account for you. This should ensure that you aren't liable for bills left by previous tenants.
Always share the responsibility for bills. Ideally everyone should have their names on all the bills (particularly if you ‘phone the company to discuss something - if you are not named on the bill, they will not speak to you).
Pay bills by Direct Debit as you may be entitled to a discount for this. Also check out things like “dual fuel” deals with energy companies for extra discounts. Getting paperless (email) bills will normally give you a discount too! Remember, you'll need to make sure that you have enough money in your account though. Why not put reminders in your diary so you'll know when the bills are coming out?
To help you to keep track of your shared household bills and to help you manage a healthy budget, please visit www.ioweyou.co.uk, an online calculator for expenses sharing or speak to the Student Finance team for help on managing group monies.
Make sure you're not paying too much for broadband, and don't sign up for services at Freshers' Fair without checking the terms and conditions! Visit comparison websites to source the best deals for your needs available to students. Avoid signing up for a whole year if you won't be around for the summer.
If you're a full-time student and you only live with other full-time students, your house should be exempt from Council Tax! For information on this check out: www.portsmouth.gov.uk/ext/housing-and-council-tax/council-tax/student-council-tax-frequently-asked-questions. You can also complete the student council tax exemption form online too.
If you have any queries or concerns about budgeting and about how to manage your expenses, please contact the Student Finance Team who are happy to help.