Ladybird Living – Your London Estate Agent

Ladybird Living
Nov 23 2023

Unpaid utility bills: What will the deposit cover?

Typically, landlords must demonstrate a financial loss to make a claim from the tenancy deposit. Non-payment of utility bills by the tenant does not automatically translate to a financial loss for the landlord. If proper documentation of utility accounts and any arrears is maintained, these responsibilities remain with the tenant rather than the landlord.


When both the landlord and tenant agree on the tenant’s responsibility for utilities, it is crucial to clearly outline these responsibilities in the tenancy agreement. The agreement should specify the tenant’s obligation to transfer utility accounts into their name and explain their responsibility to pay the associated bills. If the tenant fails to settle the utility bills once the tenancy has ended, it remains their responsibility to address these debts.

There are some instances in which the tenant may leave the property early and inform the utility provider of the vacancy date, not necessarily the end of the tenancy. In such instances, utility providers may request a copy of the tenancy agreement to verify the tenancy’s end date and confirm the tenant’s responsibility.

Council Tax:

Special consideration may be necessary in cases involving council tax responsibilities. Check if the local authority imposes additional requirements for council tax payment or during void periods. Local authorities have varying regulations, and it might be necessary to adjust the utility responsibility clauses in the tenancy agreement to avoid confusion.


For water services, additional factors come into play. It may be the responsibility of the landlord to notify the transfer of name. Landlords should check that their tenancy agreement clearly reflects these requirements and are aware of their responsibilities.

Communal Utilities:

Service and block management charges can also lead to uncertainty. The tenancy agreement is crucial in outlining responsibilities in this area. Additionally, it’s important to understand what these charges cover and who ultimately is responsible for payment. In new build developments, ensuring correct metering and charge direction is essential.

Legal advice may be sought to ensure the suitability of the tenancy agreement in such instances.

The information in this post is valid to the best of our knowledge on the date of posting. It is advised that you seek independent advice based on your individual circumstances. 

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