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Tips for Tenants: As a tenant, do you have the right to switch energy supplier?

1 Aug 2014

One great way to save money is to change energy supplier.  But according to research on the Landlord Law blog 31% of tenants didn’t know they could change supplier (subject to the tenancy agreement).

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The Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) has some very simple guidance on when as a renter you can change supplier – if you as the tenant are responsible for paying for gas or electricity you have the right to choose your own energy supplier.

However, if you landlord pays (in other words, your bills are inclusive of rent or the landlord pays the energy supplier directly) then your landlord can choose the energy supplier.

What if your tenancy agreement says you can’t switch energy supplier?

According to Ofgem, a tenant has the right to switch suppliers if they are responsible for the bills.  You should keep your landlord informed of any changes and return the account to the original supplier at the end of the tenancy. 

If you notice a clause within the tenancy agreement stipulating that you can’t change supplier, then you may ask to renegotiate that clause BEFORE you sign.

What if you landlord is responsible for bills and you want to reduce costs?

The Citizens Advice Bureau says that “If you pay your landlord for energy and are concerned about the cost of your bills, it is worth talking to your landlord. There is a maximum price that landlords can charge tenants for energy, called the Maximum Resale Price. You may need to check you are not being charged too much.”

Your landlord might agree to look at switching supplier, to keep the bills down. But they don't have to.

Would you as tenant switch supplier to save money?

Interestingly, 35% of private tenants see no point in switching as they won’t be living there long-term, but it is within your rights if you pay your bills directly.  If you are saving up for deposit to buy your first home, it may very well be worthwhile to think about switching.

Have any more questions about what rights a tenant has when letting a property?  Let us know if you would like some free advice by calling us on 0208 799 3371, email us or Tweet us @northfieldslive. We’re here to help.

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