Unless you have been living under a rock since the end of last year, you won’t need to be told about the cost of living crisis. Ofgem’s price cap rise of 54% has caused energy bills to skyrocket; petrol and diesel prices are at record highs, looking likely to eclipse £2 per litre soon; the housing market continues to cause problems as mortgages and rental costs increase further, and even the price of groceries is swelling.
This has all happened before, but with each individual cost rising at the same time, bank accounts across the UK are being stretched well beyond their limits. That is before you even factor in tax increases and inflation.
However, in recent months, the issue that seems to have gripped the headlines the most is that of energy prices. The cost of wholesale oil and gas has spiked significantly across the globe, resulting in higher bills for households. According to Ofgem’s calculations, those on default tariffs paying by direct debit will be paying an extra £693 for their energy this year compared to last. And prices are expected to rise even further in October.
Finding calmness in the chaos
Even at the best of times, bills can be stressful. With energy prices rising, landlords, estate agents and tenants are all left scratching their heads, wondering how to navigate this new, unpredictable terrain. The market is highly volatile right now, and it has never been more important to partner with a stable energy supplier, with the right model in place to help its customers through such a difficult period.
Taking the time to fix with the right supplier, rather than managing on standard variable tariffs will provide tenants with security. They can remain safe in the knowledge that their unit price will remain the same despite the ongoing chaos within the market.
Shared liability in HMOs
Fixing a property's tariff solves one problem. However, complex issues can persist for those in houses of multiple occupancies (HMOs). With bills inflating, rising costs have the potential to cause friction between housemates who share one bill. For professionals in HMOs, who are at least earning a salary, this can be a difficult conversation among tenants.
However, for students, who don’t have a steady stream of monthly income and are largely relying on student loans to keep them going, expensive bills can only add to the immense stress that they are already under from studying. It is easy to shirk responsibility. While debates over who spent all day playing video games or who does too much laundry rage on, the bill remains unpaid. This only leaves landlords and tenants anxious over additional fees.
With the right provider, landlords can ease this burden by introducing bill splitting, enabling shared liability, where tenants are only responsible for their share of the bill and no one else’s. This can be a particularly valuable tool for students. As already mentioned, these young adults are already carrying the weight of their studies, but it is easy to forget that many of them are new to living independently. The transition period for students can be difficult, and bill-splitting removes the financial burden that is on the one student who is usually responsible for managing and paying bills.
Life outside of energy bills is stressful enough right now. No one knows how long the cost of living crisis will continue, but people should still have unburdened access to energy within their own homes. Nobody should have to think twice about putting the heating on when it is cold. By choosing the right energy supplier, prices won’t immediately plummet. However, tariffs will remain fixed, tenants will be able to better plan their expenses, and those in HMOs will be able to share liability for bills.
Furthermore, landlords will be able to rest easy, knowing that their tenants are in the best position to deal with the ongoing crisis. All parties involved can make what has become a highly complex environment a little less complicated, knowing that their energy bills are as streamlined as possible.
*Danny Wyrwoll is the sales director of Shared Living at Glide