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List of average monthly household bills

Whether you own or rent your home, you will need to pay utility bills and council tax, unless they are included in your rent. This page lists average household monthly bills and explains more about them.

Household utility bills

Unless household bills are included as part of your rent, you will have to pay gas, electricity and telephone bills. These bills are usually sent out every quarter (every three months) but you can usually arrange to pay bills monthly. It may work out cheaper if you pay online or by direct debit.

If you share a flat or house, you will need to split the bills with your house mates. This can cause problems. However, the Pastures New property website has some good ideas of ways to do this amicably. Bear in mind that even if only one person's name is on the gas and/or electricity bills, you are all jointly and individually liable for paying them. This means the supplier can chase up any of you for the money if the bill isn't paid.

To save money on your bills, you may wish to move to another supplier. Websites such as Save on your bills and uSwitch allow you to compare the prices of different companies and switch suppliers online. The Consumer Focus website has more information on changing suppliers.

If you're receiving benefits, you may be eligible for BT Basic, a cheaper phone tariff from BT. 

Council tax

You will also have to pay council tax. You will get a bill once a year, but can arrange to pay it monthly if you prefer. You will get a 25% discount if you live alone, and you don't have to pay council tax if everyone living in your home is a student. If you are on benefits or a low income, you can apply for a council tax reduction.

If you live with other people, everyone in the home will be jointly and individually liable for paying the council tax. This means that if one person can't or won't pay their share, the other housemates will have to pay it for them, unless they are exempt.

TV Licence

If you have your own television set (or any other device used to receive or record television programmes, such as a video recorder, set-top box or a PC with a broadcast card), you'll need a licence. You will still need your own licence even if you live in a student hall of residence or bedsit. Find out more at the TV licensing website.

Find out more

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The important points

  • If you share your accommodation even if only one person's name is on the bills, you are all responsible so the supplier can chase up any of you to pay the bill.
  • If you're on benefits you may be eligible for BT Basic, a cheaper phone tariff from BT.
  • Living with other people means you are jointly and individually liable for council tax, so if one person can't or won't pay, the other housemates will need to pay it for them unless they are exempt.
  • You can get a 25% discount on your council tax bill if you live alone, and if everyone living in your home is a full-time student you won't have to pay council tax.

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