There's a lot to think about when your buying or selling a house, there's a big checklist of things that you have to do, one of those things on the checklist should be your utility bills. We do commonly get questions about this as to when you should stop utilities, how best to cancil them and even what you should do if your house with your utilities when your house is vacant & your trying to sell it.
If you’re selling your property and are moving out immediately then you will need to contact all of your utility providers to let them know you are moving out and give them a forwarding address. For gas and electricity, you should inform your suppliers of your final meter reading too so that you don’t get charged any extra once the new owner moves in.
In this article we'll dig further into what you should do with your utilities.
House sale fallen through?
When to stop utilities when selling a house
Moving home means moving all your utilities to your new address and cancelling your old properties utilities, but when is the right time to stop them? You will need to notify your utility suppliers 48 hours before you move to ensure that they are ready to stop the supply to the property or change it over to the new owner.
You should set your utilities to be cancelled on the day that completion takes place.
Why is it important to cancel utilities quickly?
It's important that you ensure you make your suppliers aware & provide them with your meter readings as soon as you are aware that you'll be moving out the property.
If you don't make them aware, it could be tricky for the utility companies to figure out when your occupancy ended and the new occupancy began, meaning you could be over charged for some of the new owners usage or they could be over charged for yours.
Can I cancel utilities before the sale is completed?
We strongly advise only cancelling the utilities when you have a completion date. Anything can happen between the time a sale is agreed & it's completed, and even at the last hurdle a sale can still unfortunately break down, so you want to ensure that in the worst case scenario you're not left without any power or water.
Most suppliers won't actually shut off the supply, they will leave them on but switch over the billing to the new occupant as of the date you give. There's a lot for a new occupant to do when they move in, you don't want to add to their list by making them have to sort all their utilities as soon as they walk in the door.
How to cancel utility bills when moving
It's not always quite as simple as calling the utility companies and asking them to flick the switch. Here is a bit of a closer look at what you should do to stop your bills when moving house:
When you've rang your energy supplier and made them aware of your last date in the property, you may have to sort a few things:
- Final meter readings: Your meter reading is to ensure that your last bill is correct and that you don't get charged for someone elses usage. Make sure you have a copy of this when you leave, a picture is a good way of keeping the evidence.
- Your moving address: They might ask for your address that you are moving to, this will be to forward on your final bill.
- Owing or being owed money: If you owe money, you might need to settle the final bill which you usually have to do within 28 days. If you're in credit, your supplier will be refund you.
You'll need to get in touch with your water company directly, each water company might have a slightly different procedure so it's best checking with them. If you have a water meter, they may require you to supply a reading which should be done on the day you move out.
Broadband you can cancel as and when you want to, however most of hte time you may still be under a contract of 12-24 months. Often the provider will allow you to take your existing package to your next property, but depending on what infastructure is already in place in your new property, they may sometimes charge you for installation.
Sorting Council tax is often a little trickier, you will need to provide a completion date & the date you will actually be moving out. You will also if possible have to provide the details of the new owner. The local council may also ask for a forwarding address to send a final bill.
You will need to change your address on the licence, which you can do up to three months before you move, if you know the date. You should aim to be covered as soon as you arrive in the new property, and when transferred over, your licence number will remain the same.
Contents & Building Insurance
You need to make your contents & building insurance company aware that you are moving and supply them with the date you plan on completing. You will need to get a new quote for the property you are moving to, as the price will likely be different.
Check Direct Debits
The last thing that you should do is check your direct debits. Cancel any of the direct debits for your utilities after you have moved, just to ensure that they can no longer take money from your account, just in case they don't cancel your bills despite your request.
What to do with your utilities if the house is vacant?
In today’s housing market, though, properties don’t always sell quickly. Sometimes sellers move out before the property has actually been sold because their new property is ready and this is where it can become confusing about utility bills.
In short, you must keep utilities in place if your house is still on the market, even if you have moved out. Potential buyers might visit the property in the evening or may want to see the functionality of something which requires a power source.
If your house is empty over the winter months then it would be a good idea to continue to heat the property, on and off, in order to make sure that pipes don’t freeze up or condensation builds. Similarly, having a porch or living room light on a timer makes the property look lived-in and less at risk of burglary.
When a buyer wants to go ahead with the purchase of the property then certain surveys and checks need to be done in the property that require functioning utilities.
Only cancel your utilities once your property has been sold, agreed and the buyer has a move-in date organised.
If your property has been on the market for a while and you’re getting tired of paying additional utility bills then we can buy your property off you for a cash sum. We won’t offer you the market value, but we will offer you a fair price and you can complete in a timescale that suits you. Our dedicated team offers advice with no obligation so get in touch today to find out more.
Is there anything else to consider?
There's a lot to consider when moving in regards to cancelling and changing all the address for your utilities, but is there anything else that might slip through the net, or further hints & tips we can give? Here are a few:
- Redirect your mail: When you're moving, to ensure you don't miss any bills, you will want to forward your mail to your new address which you can do by the Royal Mail.
- Move billing online: You can also avoid missing any bills by asking all the utilties to send you bills online, often through email. Most of them will do this, as there are often incentives to go paperless.
- Leave details for new occupant: This is more of a courtesy, but you can leave the details of all your utility suppliers for the new occupant, so they can contact them and provide their billing information.
- Consider switching suppliers: Moving home is the perfect time to grab yourself a new deal, you should compare utility suppliers to see if you can save any money.