Utility bills are an unavoidable part of renting off-site accommodation. Read our guide and make sure to shop around to get the best deals. 

Your landlord may include the cost of some or all of your bills in your rent; make sure you’re aware of this before setting up any additional accounts.


Included on this page:


Other advice


Council tax

Any household which is occupied exclusively by full-time students will qualify for a full exemption on council tax.

To be classified as a full-time student, you must be on a course that lasts at least a year and requires over 21 hours of study each week.

Part-time students will usually need to pay, but could be eligible for a reduction based on other factors. (link)

If you're living in a shared house with both full-time students and non-students, you will get a council tax bill through the door each month. However, only the non-student tenants will have to pay it – full-time students are still exempt.

Going straight into postgraduate study? Note: you will have to pay tax during the summer breaks between academic years. 

Sometimes you can receive a council tax bill by mistake. In this case you should apply for an exemption. You can access a Council Tax Exemption Certificate through myTSD.



If not included in your rent, you will be required to pay gas and electricity bills.

If you pay your energy supplier directly, you have the right to switch providers.

Find the cheaper deals out there with a comparison site, like Uswitch, or Money Supermarket.


*Top tip* After you have used the comparison site, narrow your choices down to two or three options and check out their direct website, they may have deals or discounts available not seen through the comparison site. 



Water bills will be included in your rent or will be set up in your name. 

If it's your responsibility to pay the water bill, you need to find out which water provider supplies your area. If you are living in Wales all water is provided by Welsh Water.

 You will need to contact them and set yourself up as a new customer. You can do this online or over the phone.


Broadband and phone

You’ll need to pay for the phone line and broadband.

Few people use a landline to make phone calls any more, so you may only need it for your internet connection.

Consider how much data you’ll need, depending on number of occupants and your activity. You may want to look for an unlimited deal for peace of mind. 

Use comparison sites such as Uswitch, or Money Supermarket to compare deals. Make sure to factor in setup costs, the length of your contract and coverage in your area before committing to anything. 


TV licence

You will need a TV licence if you watch or record programmes on a TV, computer or other device as they’re broadcast. Also if you watch or download BBC programmes on iPlayer – live, catch up or on demand.

 The annual cost of the TV license is significantly lower than the fine you will receive if you get caught using the services without the licence. 

If you are unsure if you need a license, you can check here.


Splitting bills with your housemates

Once all your bills are set up, you’ll need to work out how you’re going to pay. 

Have a conversation with your housemates about the bills. Who will be in charge? When will roomates pay? What happens if someone is late or cannot cover their share? 

You may want to consider a bill splitting service or package student deal. These companies package utility bills into one monthy payment and splits it evenely for you. 


Keeping on top of bills

Make sure you can afford your basic bills each month. 

We suggest you set up online banking, as it’s a lot easier to keep track of when your bills are going out to give you peace of mind. 

To make sure you don’t overspend, you may want to create a seperate account for your monthly payments.

If you are in financhial difficulty, there are bursaries available through the university to help you. Contact your Students’ Union if you need someone to work through this with you; we are here to help. Don’t struggle on your own!