Entering and exiting a tenancy – your responsibilities
If you're renting, here’s what you need to do at the start and end of your tenancy with your energy and water utilities. Follow our tips to make sure you meet your responsibilities and avoid any nasty surprises.
What do you pay for?
As a tenant, you’ll generally have to pay for your electricity, gas and water usage charges if the property you’re renting is separately metered. Check your tenancy agreement. It will state who’s responsible for paying for these utilities.
Read more about understanding your meter.
Starting your tenancy – setting up an account
Electricity and gas
If you have a standard residential tenancy agreement, you’ll be responsible for electricity and gas charges. You’ll therefore need to open an account. Read more about setting up an energy account and getting a new connection.
Take the time to find the right energy plan for you. By choosing the best deal, you can save energy and money. The energy made easy website will help you do this, as it compares all the energy providers. Read more about choosing an energy company and choosing an electricity contract.
If you live in an apartment block or housing complex, there's a chance your energy might be connected via a privately owned energy network called an embedded network. In this case, you may not have a choice of who your provider is. You may also receive your energy bill from your body corporate or landlord instead of a provider. Read more about embedded networks and your rights.
If your tenancy agreement states that you must pay for water consumption, you don’t need to set up a water account. This is because the owner of the property you’re renting must pay all fixed charges, including sewerage charges, so they will receive the water bill. They can only pass the consumption charges onto you, meaning you’re only responsible for paying for the water that you use.
It’s important to note that as a tenant, you can only be charged for water consumption if the property you’re renting is:
- individually metered (or water is delivered by vehicle) and
- the property is water efficient.
Read more about water charging on the Residential Tenancies Authority website.
Ending your tenancy – closing an account
Electricity and gas
Before moving out at the end of your tenancy, contact your energy provider to request they close your electricity and/or gas account on the date you move out. You’ll need to provide them with:
- a forwarding address – this can be an email or postal address
- a date for the final meter read
- payment for the full amount owing – if you’re experiencing financial hardship, you can ask for a payment plan, extension to pay or other assistance such as the Home Energy Emergency Assistance Scheme (HEEAS) which provides assistance up to 60 days from your account closure date.
If you’ve been sharing the tenancy and your house mates still owe money towards the energy bills, don’t leave your account open for them to pay their portion. You’re solely responsible for all energy accounts in your name and therefore you’re also solely responsible for all outstanding bill payments.
Furthermore, you may be charged for any energy used at the property you’ve been renting if you don’t close your account, even after your tenancy has ended and you’ve moved out.
When closing your account, use a mobile phone to take a photo of your meter read, as it will date and time stamp the photo.
Check out the Australian Energy Regulator’s website for more tips when moving house to avoid any problems at the end of your tenancy.
At the end of your tenancy when you move out of the rented property, you don’t need to let the water company know. This is because you don’t have a water account to close. The owner of the property that you’ve been renting will continue to receive the water bill.
Want to know more?
Do you have a complaint about an energy company?
If you have an issue with your energy company as your setting up or closing an account, we may be able to help. EWOQ offers a free, fair and independent dispute resolution service.
Find out more about complaints we can help with.