Becoming a student is most people’s introduction to living away from home and organising livings costs. There are many types of bills you may need to be pay for, which can be stressful. Use this guide to find out exactly what bills you need to pay for, and how.
You must own a TV licence if you plan on watching any television that is being aired live – this doesn’t just mean live television such as football, but anything that is being aired by broadcasters at the time. However, with modern devices and services, TV licensing has adapted to include other offerings. It’s important to check to make sure you aren’t breaking the law.
Below is a table that shows what you need a licence for:
Type of service
Do I need a licence?
Live TV (any channel)
BBC content (including catch-up shows on BBC iPlayer)
Catch-up content on channels other than BBC (e.g. ITV Player)
Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Now TV and other streaming services
You can purchase a TV Licence from the TV License website.
As of May 2019 – the annual cost of colour/live streaming TV licence is: £150.50
You can pay for your licence via:
TV license can offer you a payment plan, so you can pay in full, quarterly, monthly or even weekly.
Yes, but only if you go home for the summer.
If you purchase a TV licence in September but go home around the end of May/June time, that’s three months where the TV licence is wasted. TV license understands this and now offers a refund of around £37 for the final quarter of your TV licence.
You will need to have purchased a TV licence by the end of September or early October at the latest in order to be eligible for a refund.
Energy bills include both electricity and gas. You can pay from them separately, using to different suppliers. Alternatively, you can purchase both from the same supplier, commonly called dual fuel. Here is quick step-by-step on how to set up your energy bills
For a deeper explanation on how to set up your energy bills licence, visit our guide: How to find your current energy suppliers and set up your bills
Water bills are one of the easier bills to manage. Water is a public service run by the government, so no need to hunt for the best deals or faff around with different companies. Water bills cover both the running water into your home and the sewage system that runs through it too.
You will find that your house will be on one of two tariffs:
If you are a full time student, you will be expected to pay the water bills in full: Once every quarter, if you are on a standard tariff or once every six months you are metered.
If you live in Scotland and in a household that is solely occupied by students, you are exempt from paying your water bills. You may need to clarify this with the water company to ensure you aren’t charged. You can find contact information on the Scottish Water website.
Find out more about different types of water guides, visit our guide: How to set up your water bill
Broadband is where students can either find themselves with a fantastic deal or in a terrible situation. Broadband is one of the most competitive areas of business, and from that comes some fantastic deals for the consumer. However, there are many parts to what makes a good broadband deal – not just the price.
What you need to look for in a broadband deal:
For more information about broadband bills, visit our guide: How to set up your broadband bills
Paying for accommodation is a must – everyone needs a roof over their head. Quite often, rent is the biggest expense for students. Often students are faced with the choice of living in all-inclusive halls or non-inclusive housing. But what’s this difference?
All-inclusive accommodation is when your rent and your utility bills are combined, including internet, electric, gas and water. TV licences can be included but they are often left up to the students to decide whether they want to pay or not.
Non-inclusive is basically a standard house with a standard way to pay for your bills. You will pay rent to your landlord and pay the bills to your various suppliers. It is up to you to organise the bills however you would like. Whilst it might seem like an added stress, it could provide you with added freedom and cheaper bills.
A property is exempt from council tax if all tenants are:
If you and your housemates are all full-time university students, your household is completely exempt from paying council tax. If you share a house with someone who does not fall into one of the above categories, you’ll need to pay council tax.
Student halls are automatically exempt from council tax and you shouldn’t receive any letters from the government about paying it.
If you live in independent student housing, the government may write to you about council tax. It might be that the house used to be occupied by people who weren’t students, or a simple mistake. It’s worth asking the landlord beforehand.
If you do receive a letter, a simple phone call to the council to explain your situation will more than likely sort out any issues.
Every local council in the UK has its own website. You can find out who your local council is by going to the Gov.uk website and typing in your postcode.
Once you’re on the right website, look for the Council tax section and then the Discounts and exemptions page or a Student section of the website. You can also try and search the site for “student council tax exemption” (there’s usually a search bar in the top-right corner).
You should be able to either download an exemption form and fill it in by hand, or complete the form online. Doing it online is the quickest and easiest way to apply.
The council will ask for proof that you’re a student. You can prove this with either your:
Once complete, submit or post your exemption form, and you’re all done.
Do I get a discount?
No. There are currently no deals available for students
No. There are currently no deals available for students
England – No. You must pay your water bills.
Scotland – Yes. You won’t have to pay your water bill if you live/study in Scotland. However, you must be living in a household solely comprised of full-time students
Some broadband providers offer limited student discounts on their products. You may receive shorter contracts or cheaper prices. This will often be for a specific duration and you will have to pay full prices after a certain period
No. If you are intending to watch any live television, you will need to purchase a TV licence.
You’re only liable for the costs you’ve incurred since moving in. This includes the following bills:
The first thing to do is to take meter readings on the day you move in. The best way to do this is to take pictures on your phone—this way you can prove exactly what the meters showed and the date on which you took the images.
Anything prior to your tenancy start date is not your responsibility. If you start receiving demand letters from any previous suppliers, you’ll need to contact them and explain the situation. As further proof, you may also want to get your landlord/letting agent to confirm the date your tenancy began.
You should talk to your student advice service for your university. Alternatively, Citizens Advice can offer you information and support during these situations. They are a charity that provides free, independent and confidential advice on your rights and responsibilities.
The NHS charges for certain services, including:
As a student, you can be exempted from paying for these treatments if you’re:
If you’re under 19 and in full-time education, you can apply to be exempt from paying for these treatments. You’ll need to provide your local medical practice with evidence to prove this is the case.
If you’re on a low income, you can apply to the NHS Low Income Scheme (LIS). This will cover the costs for the treatments mentioned above. To qualify, you must earn less than £16,000 per year. This includes student loans, so if you receive any loans you’re unlikely to be eligible.