Smart meters and rented property: Can I get a smart meter if I rent?
The answer is more straighforward than you think. Plus smart meters could benefit you whether you rent or not!
What is a smart meter?
A smart meter is the next generation of a gas and electricity meter. It automatically and wirelessly sends the readings to your energy supplier at least once a month. Which means you receive accurate, not estimated, bills.
The smart meter's in-home display also shows you your energy use in near-real time, and uses a secure smart data network (managed by the DCC).
Find out more in the video below.
The smart meter system is made up of two parts – the smart meters, which replace your traditional gas and electricity meters, and the in-home display – a portable screen that shows you how much gas and electricity you’re using and how much it’s costing you.
Both parts of the system work together to ensure you receive accurate information about your energy use. Your smart meter records your electricity use in near-real time, and every half hour for gas. The meter then securely shares these readings automatically with your in-home display for you to see. You can choose how often your meter readings are sent to your supplier, speak to them to find out your options.
The more frequently your supplier receives this data, the better they will understand how much energy is being used around the country, and when. With this information, they can buy more accurate amounts of energy to supply to their customers, helping to make our energy system more efficient.
Benefits for renters and tenants - why you should get a smart meter?
Knowledge is power. And with a smart meter's in-home display, you can access data about your energy use that can help you better understand your energy use and make changes around the home.
Below are some examples of how understanding your energy use can help.
A smart meter could help you identify places where you're wasting energy or where you can cut back.
Understand how much energy you're using in near real-time, and what it's costing you could help you gain control over your energy usage.
Having a smart meter could help you access schemes and tariffs that reward you for changing how and when you use energy (like National Grid Energy System Operator’s Demand Flexibility Service).
See how Nicola behaviour around energy use has changed since getting a smart meter for her rented property.
My name is Nicola, I live in South West London with my five-year-old daughter in a two-bedroom flat.
I got my smart meter installed because I was worried that my energy bills were really high. Speaking to friends, they said there's weren’t as high and they live in bigger properties than me. So, spoke to my energy provider and they suggested getting a smart meter.
I’ve definitely changed the way I used my energy since I've had my smart meter installed. It allows me, yeah, just to budget more I can see sort of what I've spent per day, so I can sort of know if I've got rein it in a little bit more. Because my smart meter will change colour, so it will go red when I'm using a lot of electricity or gas and green when it's minimal.
Being a single parent and having my smart meter really allows me to watch what I'm spending, and therefore, I don't get that shock bill at the end of the month. I’d definitely recommend getting a smart meter to friends and family. It really, really helped me, and I think it would help other people as well.
Smart meter information for renters
Do I need the landlord’s permission for a smart meter?
If your energy bill is in your name, it's your choice to have a smart meter installed.
We do reccomend that you let your landlord know before you make the change. To help, we've drafted an email template that you can use to notify your landlord of your desire to get a smart meter
If your lease says that you need your landlord’s permission to change the meter, Ofgem say they shouldn’t unreasonably prevent this.
My landlord pays the energy bills; can I get a smart meter in a rented property?
If your landlord pays the energy bills for your home, it’s their decision on whether or not to install a smart meter – But it is worth asking. In our research in 2022, we found that 72% of landlords would agree to get a smart meter installed, and a quarter had installed one themselves in a rental property*.
FAQs about smart meters in rental properties
Smart meters in blocks of flats – is it possible to have one fitted?
Many homes can upgrade to a smart meter right now - but where you live, the type of home you live in, and the age and type of your existing meter may mean that your energy supplier will take a little longer to get yours to you. Contact your supplier to find out if a smart meter is suitable for your property.
What happens when I move out of my rented home?
After you move out, you leave your IHD in the property, as it will be connected to that property’s smart meter – you can always request that your supplier install a smart meter in your next property if there isn’t one installed there.
How much will the smart meter cost to install?
The smart meter won’t cost you anything extra to install as the cost has been covered through everyone’s bills – you just need to ask your supplier to see if your home is suitable. Find out more about the installation process.