Water bills when moving home: A how to guide

There’s always a long to-do list when moving house, and making sure you’re paying the right water bill is quite important. Thankfully, cancelling your old water bill and setting up a new one is pretty easy.

In this blog we’ve put together everything you need to know about your water bills when you move house.

Who is my water supplier?

Whether you’re cancelling your water bill and moving out, or setting up a water bill when you’re moving in, you’re going to need to know who your water supplier is. This is one of the easiest things to check when you’re moving house! To find out who your water supplier is, you can:

  • Check your latest water bill
  • Ask the previous owner or estate agent
  • Use Water UK’s postcode checker

What to do when you move out

If you’re moving out and you need to cancel your water bill, you’ll usually need to let your current water company know when you’re planning to move, and where you’ll be going. This is true even if you’re staying in the same area and will be using the same water company in your new home. Most water suppliers will allow you to cancel your water bill online or over the phone.

If you have a water meter, you’ll probably be asked to provide a final meter reading when you move out. Taking the reading on your water meter on the day you move will mean you won’t end up overpaying on your last water bill. The water company might even send someone to your house to take the final meter reading, but they should let you know if that’s the case.

Most water companies won’t let you cancel your water bill more than 28 days before you move. And you’ll usually have to give them at least 5 days notice as well, in case they decide to send someone out to take the final meter reading.

For more information on changing energy suppliers, you can check out our blog ‘How long does it take to switch energy supplier?’

What to do when you move in

When you move into a new home, it’s best to inform the local water company that you’ve moved to the area and set up your water bill as soon as you can. You can check your water company’s website for details on how to set up your water bill, but you’ll usually need:

  • Your name and new address
  • Your telephone number
  • Your email address
  • Your bank details (if you want to set up a Direct Debit)
  • The date you moved in
  • A meter reading from the day you moved in (if your house has a water meter)

What to do about water bills if you’re renting

If you’re renting, it’s pretty likely your landlord will already have set up the water bill, but it’s worth checking to make sure. It’s best to talk to your landlord about this as soon as possible, as it can depend on whether your water bill is included in your rent or not. If you’re paying your water bill yourself, you might need to register with the water company when you move in.

For more information on your landlord’s responsibilities, you can check out our blog ‘How long can a landlord leave you without heating UK

What are sewerage charges?

Sewerage charges are a little different to water charges. Essentially the water service is in charge of providing your water, and the sewerage service takes away your waste (so basically they’re in charge of the sewers). In some cases, your sewerage charges could be managed by a different company to your water supplier. This means you might get a separate sewerage bill, or your water company might charge you on behalf of the sewerage company. These are all things you can check when you set up your water bill.

Different types of tariff

There are a couple of different types of tariffs that might apply when you pay your water bill. This can vary by property and by water company so it’s a good idea to make sure you know which tariff your house is using. The two types of water bill tariffs are:

  • Standard tariff - Standard tariffs are the most common type of tariff in the UK. Standard tariffs use government surveys to estimate how much water your house will use in a month or quarter. They tend to be cheaper than metered tariffs, but if you use less water you’re unlikely to save any money.
  • Metered tariff - Metered tariffs use a meter to record the amount of water you use and charge you for that specific amount. The cost per litre tends to be higher than a standard tariff, but if you’re careful about your water consumption it can work out cheaper overall. You’ll usually get a bill every 6 months.

What happens if I forget to take a meter reading?

If you have a water meter, it’s your responsibility to take a final reading when you move out, and an initial reading when you move in. If you don’t provide your water supplier with an accurate reading in either case, your last bill and first bill could be more expensive, as you could be charged for water you haven’t used.

If you do forget to take a meter reading you should let the water supplier know as soon as possible, but it’s best not to worry. They’ll usually take the meter reading from either the new owners or the previous owners, depending on whether you’re coming or going. The water supplier might also take an average of previous bills, or send someone to take a meter reading in person.

Can I change my water supplier?

It is not currently possible to change your water supplier or sewerage service provider in the UK. The water company you pay bills to just depends on where you live, so the only way to change water supplier is to move house.

If you’d like to know more about changing water supplier, you can check out our blog ‘Can you change water supplier?’

A few final tips…

These are the last things to remember about your water bills when moving home:

  • Cancelling your water bill and setting up a new one is very simple, and every water company in the UK should allow you to do it online.
  • Taking accurate water meter readings when you move in or out will mean you’re only charged for the water you’ve used.

Urban Jungle is not a financial advisor and information in this article should not be taken as advice or recommendation.