Set Down Ground Rules
Upon moving in, all housemates should sit down and have a serious discussion regarding the payment of bills. You will probably find that you’ll already be signed up to a gas and electricity provider and a water provider, who will have billed previous tenants. You will need to give them a call, and they’ll provide an estimate based on the number of tenants, how much bills will be. Alternatively, you can shop around to see if there are any cheaper providers.
Once you have decided which provider to go with, you and your housemates will need to arrange the payment of bills. It’s likely (my student house included), that one person will have the money deducted from their bank account, so the rest of you will need to transfer your share to them a few days in advance. For example, if gas and electricity is billed at £100 a month and there are five of you in the house, you will each need to set up a standing order of £20 to the lead tenant for each month that you will be in the property. Similarly, if the water is billed quarterly at £140, you will each need to set up a standing order of £28 every three months.
By setting up these orders well in advance of the first payment, housemates cannot claim that they’ve ‘forgotten’ to send you the money; and subsequently, monthly payments will be deducted without fail. Having this discussion should help you avoid the situation of a bill-avoiding flatmate in the first place.