Liz Truss may have promised to keep energy bills down to an average of £2,500 a year, but many students (or their parents) could be charged extra for exceeding the limit.

If you, or your descendants, are privately renting dormitories with bills, read the small print very carefully and ask if you have any doubts.

Many students agree that in most contracts with student rental agents, the energy contained is usually subject to fair use policies (caps or allowances) based on the amount spent rather than the unit of energy consumed I am not aware of that.

For example, in a shared house each student may be allocated a £350 annual gas and electricity bill, with the rest billed to the tenant’s account.

These amounts, which may have seemed generous in the past, are rapidly being eroded by rising gas and electricity prices.

Hang the clean laundry out of the washing machine in a basket
Using a washing machine without thinking about energy efficiency can be costly. Photo: Lynn Sutherland/Alamy

Many agents that provide student accommodation have fair use policies posted online, but you should check to see if recent events have improved or worsened your tolerances. Examples we have found include amounts of up to £3,600 for her nine tenant households in Manchester, while an agent covering Birmingham, Nottingham and Bristol has three tenants for just £1,800. Had a fair use policy. Her £350 allowance to each highlighted earlier was a Liverpool rental agent.

The government’s £2,500 figure for a bill freeze is based on a ‘typical’ household on a dual fuel contract with ‘median consumption’. In large facilities and homes that use a lot of energy, it can be (much) more.

Students who often cook, run the washing machine, or heat their rooms separately are likely to consume more. This can mean that the student or her parents face “billing shock”.

Sophie Lang, regional executive at Propertymark, a membership organization of real estate agents, said agents “need to alert tenants to the fine print of the contract and what it means for students … these tenants was agreed a few months ago.”

Some agents say they plan to visit student properties to show tenants how to be more energy efficient.

Victoria Tolmie-Loveseed of the student housing charity Unipol said there is no legal obligation for brokers and landlords to update fair use policies to reflect price changes.

She asks students to carefully read their rental agreements and “get advice on anything you don’t understand. In a share house, housemates should communicate and work together to manage this, and budget together if extra payments are required.”

Freshmen in the halls may be protected from the worst of energy rate hikes.

Ahead of the latest government energy announcement, a spokesperson for Unite, one of the UK’s largest student accommodation providers, said: Simple, fixed and comprehensive rental payments.

“Given rising energy prices, we estimate that a student living in a share house will pay around £840 a year, including utilities, Wi-Fi and content insurance. The cost of these same services will increase by 2022. Less than £600 per unite student for the ~23 academic year.We pass these savings on to our students through a fixed single rent at the time of booking.”

If you live in a private student residence, choose your flatmates carefully.

Myron Jobson, senior personal finance analyst at financial platform Interactive Investor, said: “When four people live together and all have different attitudes towards bill-related energy use, it’s a recipe for controversy. It may become

“And with each having a vast array of electronic devices, ranging from cell phones, laptops, televisions to video game consoles, along with shared facilities, it’s going to be expensive.”

Energy bills typically don’t affect your credit file, but they can if your account is in debt because one of you can’t pay them. For the same reason, be careful about signing up for a joint account and pooling your bill money. It could be, and you could potentially have trouble borrowing for years in the future.

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