Cumbria Times
A Voice of the Free Press
3:00 AM 14th May 2022

What To Do With Your Utility Bills And Council Tax When You Move House

Brits looking to move house are being urged to take expert advice to avoid unwanted charges and financial penalties.

Moving house can be a stressful process and managing utility bills as well as council tax can make for a complicated move.

There are a few important steps to take once occupants leave a property and when they move into a new property.

Taking meter readings, communicating with suppliers and researching the correct tariffs are some of the primary actions that are involved in the move.

Failure to complete these processes properly can land homeowners in hot water with possible financial penalties.

LOVESPACE advocates for a safe, secure and stress-free moving process by taking care of the collection, storage and delivery of personal belongings.

Their new drive up storage units allows people to have on-demand access to their possessions, giving them peace of mind whilst dealing with other important relocating issues.

A spokesperson for LOVESPACE said:
“Although it may not seem like a number one priority when moving your whole life to a different location, keeping on top of bills is incredibly important.

“It’s always best to be on top of things. Making a list or setting reminders on your phone are great ways to keep tabs on progress when setting up bills for your new address.

“Local councils and service providers will often have step by step guides to help movers with the process. We implore people to utilise these services to ensure the process doesn’t get too complicated.”

Here is Lovespace’s guide to transitioning utility bills and the council takes when moving home:

Before leaving your current home, it is advisable to call your current energy provider in good time to allow for a smooth process. Inform the company that you will be leaving and provide them with the new home address. This will provide them with a place to send a final bill. This bill should detail if there are any outstanding payments to be made or if your account is in credit.

Every provider will have a different process at this stage. For example, if you are on a fixed tariff there may be an exit fee to pay. Some providers may even allow you to take the same tariff to your new property. It’s best to check with the provider by calling or going on their website to double check this information.

Submit a final meter reading
Again, this will vary from property to property but once initial contact has been made with the provider it is likely that they will ask you to give them a final meter reading. This will need to be submitted on the day you move out of the property. If you do not remember to do this, you could be subject to charges from the person moving in next or from a daily standing charge even if the property is empty. Taking a picture of the meter is the best way to cover yourself in this scenario.

If your house has a water meter, this means you are not charged on the rateable value of your property but on how much you use. The same process will apply here, so even if you’re moving into a property without a meter you will still need to inform the provider of the move.

Setting up in the new house
Once you arrive at the new property it’s important to work out the current set-up in the house. In some instances, the electricity, water and gas may need to be reactivated by the supplier before they can be used. Locating the meter can be difficult, especially in older properties where it can be lurking in unsuspecting spots. If you’re struggling to find the energy meter, try looking:

Under the stairs
Under the sink
In the cupboard
In the garage
Outside in a meter box

If you still can’t find the meter and you’re in a new build it is possible that one hasn’t been installed yet. When you contact the new energy/water provider, this may be a service that they can provide for you.

Again, you will need to take a meter reading and submit this to the current energy supplier. You can find out who the supplier is by asking the landlord/letting agent, checking for an old bill or by contacting the Distribution Network Operator.

Once this is complete it’s time to find a new provider. For this you’ll need:

Your postcode
The name of your current supplier.
The name of your current energy/water tariff.
Your annual energy/water usage or costs.

To help weigh up the different options try using a comparison site to give you the best deal that works for you.

Having a water meter is not essential and it is at the homeowners discretion whether one is installed. Unmetered customers will be charged a fixed amount, which may or may not include sewage charges. These are all things that can be discussed with your new provider, who will tell you the most suitable option.

Council tax
It’s important to update the local council when you’re changing addresses. This will avoid you getting overcharged on your council tax or being subject to a financial penalty. It’s likely the council will ask for these details before sending the final bill:

your new address
your old address and the date you are leaving the property
the name of the new owner or tenant of your old address
the name and address of the solicitor dealing with the sale

Once you leave the current address the local council will likely send the final bill as a one off payment. After this, the new property will be billed annually. If you’re staying within the same postcode the local authority may allow you to continue on the same direct debit arrangement.

It’s important to be aware that councils can charge an empty property tax if a property is left empty or unfurnished. This is to encourage homeowners to not leave their properties empty for extended periods of time.

LOVESPACE provides self storage with convenient collection and delivery straight from your doorstep across the UK. It has recently launched a removal service.