Smart meters and rented property: Can I get a smart meter if I rent?
The answer is more straightforward than you think. There are lots of benefits for renters, including if you're on prepay!
Benefits of smart meters for renters
There are lots of benefits to having a smart meter. With a smart meter's in-home display, you can see your energy use in near-real time which can help you better understand how much you're using, and what it costs, which can help you to make changes around your home to save energy and money.
Below are more examples of how having a smart meter could help.
Be more energy efficient
A smart meter could help you to use energy more efficiently while still staying warm and comfortable. You might also identify places where you're wasting energy.
Get more control
Getting a smart meter is one simple step you can take as a renter stay more on top of your energy costs and bills.
Access to new schemes & tariffs
Having a smart meter could help you access schemes and tariffs that reward you for changing how and when you use energy (like the 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.
FAQ: Smart meter information for renters
Can I get a smart meter if I'm on prepay?
Yes! Renters who prepay for their energy can get a smart meter.
There are lots of benefits with smart prepay compared to traditional prepayment, or key, meters. If you rent and prepay for your energy, having a smart meter means:
- you can top-up online, on the go or at home
- government or energy supplier support can be added to the meter automatically, without needing a voucher through the post
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.
It is reccomended that you let your landlord know before you make the change. To help, there are some handy templates below that you can use to notify your landlord of your plans to get a smart meter.
If your lease says that you need your landlord’s permission to change the meter, Ofgem, the energy regulator, 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*.
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.
What are some other changes I can make to save energy in my rented home?
Having a smart meter can help you to spot places you could make low or no cost changes to your home to save energy, and you can use it to keep track of the difference it makes to your bills.
Some of these changes are:
- Using draught excluders on windows and doors to keep the warmth in
- Fitting reflectors behind radiators on external walls
- Reducing the temperature on your thermostat by just one degree can help lower your energy bills without sacrificing comfort
Also, Energy Saving Trust have a handy guide for renters.
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*1Opinium Research for Smart Energy GB, private renters study Oct 2022