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Is your tenancy agreement all inclusive?

Given the recent price hike in utility bills it’s important that you check your tenancy agreements for clauses that state if your “all inclusive” means what you think it does.

Given the recent price hike in utility bills, it’s important that you check your tenancy agreement for clauses that state that your agreement is “all inclusive”, and more importantly if it means what you think it means.

Many tenancy agreements we check, when students come to us prior to signing, will state that the rent is all inclusive of bills. However, most will have a cap or a fair usage policy. What this means is that your bills will only be inclusive up to a certain point and if you go beyond that (use more than stipulated or the cost goes above that stipulated in the tenancy agreement), then you will have to pay the extra.

This could come out of your deposit if you have paid one. If not, the landlord/agent might ask you to pay from the point at which you have gone over the cap or at the end of your tenancy. Ultimately the landlord/agent could take you to court for any money owed.

If you don’t have a copy of your tenancy agreement, then contact your landlord/agent and request a copy of the one you signed. They should provide you with a copy within 28 days of you requesting it. If you are having difficulty getting a copy, then contact the Students’ Union Advice Service.

If you have access to your meters, then keep a monthly record (with photos) of what they state and make sure you take a final meter reading at the end of your tenancy.

If you do have a cap on utilities included in your rent or if you have to pay your bills yourself, then you might want to think about some steps to reduce those bills. Find some good info on the Energy Saving Trust or the Money Saving Expert websites.

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