When you’re deciding on somewhere to live, one of the most important things to thinkn about is how much it’s going to cost you to live there. Most rents don’t include bills. This means that the money you pay to the landlord or agency for rent won’t cover the cost of gas, electricity, water, internet or anything like that. Always check your tenancy agreement to see if anything’s included with the rent.

Who’s responsible for paying the bills?

Normally, even if you’ve got an individual agreement for only a room in a house you share the bills out between you and the other tenants. Not all services allow the accounts to be in joint names, so it’s a good idea to set up an agreement between everyone at the beginning so you all know how you’re going to pay.


Most services can give you some kind of monthly payment through a direct debit. If you can, you should all consider setting up a joint bank account to pay the bills through. It’s also best, unless the bills are included in the rent you pay, that they aren’t in the landlord’s name and don’t get sent to another address. Wherever you can, avoid setting up accounts in one name only.


There are companies available that can consolidate your bills and send you one monthly amount to pay. This may be easier than setting up joint bank accounts or battling it out over the bills. It‘s worth researching the different companies, as some charge.



There are loads of different energy suppliers but contact details for some of the popular ones are below. Most suppliers let you manage your account online account, and set up monthly direct debits. On the day you move in, take the meter readings and set up new accounts so you aren’t left with any charges from the previous tenants (See Top Tips for Moving In Day for help reading a meter)



On the day you move in, call your gas supplier with a meter reading and account and billing details can be sorted out. If there’s a pre-payment meter in the property, I can take four working days to get a new card.



Phone your water supplier before you move in, giving as much notice as possible. Anglian Water supply Colchester and much of the surrounding area, while Affinity Water supply Wivenhoe. If you’re an existing customer let them know your customer number so they can stop billing you for your previous address.



If your phone service is being supplied by British Telecom, you can arrange to reconnect an existing line on their website. If there isn’t an existing phone line, then you can head to their website for what you can do.You can use their website to set up accounts online. In some cases there might be a connection charge to pay, be sure to check their website for all the info


Students on full time courses don’t have to pay council tax. So if your house only has full-time students living in it, you don’t have to pay any council tax. But, there are different rules where full-time students live with non-students. It’s still important that the Council is made aware of any full-time students in a property so that any discounts can be applied. For more advice on council tax for full-time students living with non-students and how this affects your Council Tax Bill drop into the Advice Centre to talk to one of our advisers.


University Accommodation:

If you’re living in University accommodation you’ll automatically be registered by the University as being exempt from council tax.


Living in Colchester Borough Council:

Students living in Colchester Borough (anywhere within Colchester) will need to let the local council know they’re a student. You can do this online form here: Once you’ve completed this form the University will confirm your student status to the Council and your exemption will be registered.


Living in Tendring District Council:

Students living in Tendring District Council (anywhere within Wivenhoe) will need to let the local council know they’re a student. You can get a Council Tax Exemption form from the Registry (Room 6.116). You’ll need to provide proof that you’re a student. You can get a letter from the University from Registry via their Electronic Student Forms ordering system ( when logged in using your normal Essex Student login details.



If you receive a request for payment of Council Tax DON’T IGNORE IT as it can result in court action. Bring your letter with you to the Advice Centre as soon as possible to speak to one of our advisers.


TV Licence:

If you have a joint tenancy for the whole house you might only need one licence, unless your accommodation is self-contained (see their website for further information). If you have an individual tenancy agreement for your own room in the property you’ll need an individual television licence for your own television. You can get a refund for the holidays if you are not living in the property.


You can buy a licence at any PayPoint outlet or online. Payments can be made by cash or debit card. There are 20,000 PayPoint outlets across the UK, usually in newsagents, convenience stores, supermarkets and petrol stations. You can also set up direct debits or pay online. You can get more info here: . If you don’t buy a TV license, you could be at risk of a hefty fine.


Contents/Possessions Insurance:

While your landlord should have insured the building you live in, it’s your responsibility to insure your own possessions against theft and fire. There are loads of places you can get this from. Shop around for the best deal.