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.

If your landlord gets government support

If your landlord gets a discount on your energy bill they should automatically pass this support onto you. This is known as a ‘pass-through requirement’.

If you use gas and electricity

Your landlord might have used government schemes to get help with the cost of gas and electricity.

Your landlord might have saved money with the Energy Price Guarantee. This put a limit on the rate your supplier could charge your landlord for gas and electricity.  From 1 July the Energy Price Guarantee won't apply to most tariffs.

If your landlord got a discount they have 6 months to pass this onto you. If you’re unsure if your landlord got the discount, contact them and ask.

If your landlord has a business energy supply they might have saved money with the Energy Bill Discount Scheme. They might have a business supply if you live in a park home or rent a business space. Check if your landlord is eligible for the Energy Bill Discount Scheme.

If you think your landlord's eligible for support and you don’t think they’ve applied, you should let them know.

If you use alternative fuel

If you’re not connected to the gas grid and your main form of heating comes from alternative fuel, your landlord might have applied for a £200 alternative fuel payment.

If you live on a business property, for example a working farm or care home, your landlord might have applied for a £150 non-domestic alternative fuel payment.

These schemes are closed for applications, but your landlord might be waiting for the support to be paid.

If you’re not sure whether your landlord has applied for government support, contact them and ask them.

How you'll get the support

Your landlord should contact you within 30 days of getting the support. They must tell you:

  • how much support they got

  • how much will be passed on to you and why

  • when and how you'll get the support

  • how you can challenge their decision

If your landlord doesn't pass on the full support they must explain why. In some situations it's reasonable for your landlord not to pass on the support. For example, if your rent includes energy bills and you’ve been paying the same amount since before energy prices increased.

If your contract with your landlord ends before you get the support, they should still pass it on to you as soon as they can. If they haven’t been able to pass it on to you after 6 months, you won’t get the support.

Making a complaint

You can complain to your landlord if you:

  • didn’t get the support

  • didn’t get enough support

  • weren’t told you could get the support

You should complain to your landlord in writing. You can find a template letter for end users on GOV.UK.

If you disagree with the amount of support your landlord passes on to you, you can make a claim against them. You can claim for the amount you’ve been overcharged plus interest.

If you're a private-sector tenant, you should take your claim to the First-tier Tribunal (Housing and Property Chamber).

If you're a public-sector tenant, you should raise your claim using the simple procedure. Find out more about using the simple procedure to make a claim.

If your home is on a heat network and your landlord is your heat supplier, they should pass on a fair amount of any discount they get. If they don’t, you can complain to your heat network supplier. Check how to complain to your heat network supplier.

Check how much your landlord can charge you for energy

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