What your landlord can charge you for energy

This advice applies to Scotland. See advice for See advice for England, See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Wales

Your landlord can only charge you for gas or electricity if your tenancy agreement says they can.

Check your tenancy agreement to find out if you have to pay your landlord for energy, and on what terms. Ask your landlord for a copy of your tenancy agreement if you don’t have one.

Your landlord can’t charge you for gas or electricity if you pay your supplier directly.

How you pay your landlord for energy might affect how much they can charge you.

If your bills are included in your rent

If your bills are included in your rent and your landlord has increased your rent because of higher energy prices, you might be able to challenge this increase.

You can check what to do if the landlord wants to increase the rent.

If you pay your landlord separately for energy

Your landlord must pass on the full amount of support they get for gas and electricity.

They can't charge you more than they’ve paid for gas and electricity - this is called the 'maximum resale price'. This amount includes:

  • the units of energy you've used - for example, the kilowatt hours you've used for electricity

  • your share of the standing charge, this is a flat fee charged on every energy contract

  • the VAT owed, this is 5% for energy

If your home doesn’t have an energy meter that records how much energy you’ve used, your landlord must estimate as accurately as possible how much you should pay. However, it’s rare that a home won’t have its own meter.

Estimated bills should include any discounts your landlord gets on your energy - for example as part of the Energy Price Guarantee.

If you don’t have a smart meter, it might be helpful to get one. A smart meter can: 

  • automatically send readings to your supplier so your landlord won’t need to estimate your bill

  • tell you how much energy you're using and how much it costs

You can check how to get a smart meter.

If your property is part of a 'Green Deal'

Your landlord might charge you more for your energy if they borrowed money to make energy efficiency improvements to the property. For example they might have paid for wall insulation or double glazing.

You should have been told your property was part of a 'Green Deal' before you moved in.

You can find a list of what energy efficiency changes were made to the property on the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). If you don’t have a copy, you can search for your EPC online.

Search the EPC for your property on the Scottish EPC Register website.

You can check how to complain if you have a problem with your Green Deal.

If you’ve been overcharged

If you think your landlord has overcharged you, ask them for a copy of the bill and ask them to explain how they worked out the charges.

If your landlord charged you more than they paid for gas and electricity you can ask them to:

  • lower the charge to the correct amount

  • refund you the difference if you’ve already paid

Talk to an adviser if you don't feel confident speaking to your landlord or you need help to challenge the amount you’ve been charged.

If you can’t resolve the dispute, you can try to get the money by bringing a claim against your landlord. If you're a private tenant, you should take your claim to the First-tier Tribunal (Housing and Property Chamber) for the amount you’ve been overcharged plus interest. 

Get advice before challenging your landlord. An adviser can help you challenge your landlord so they’re less likely to make you leave the property.

Further help

If you need more advice, you can contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau