Are you a tenant? If so, you should probably pay attention to some aspects of your energy contracts. Who is responsible for what between you and your landlord? What do you need to do to be supplied with natural gas or electricity when you move in? What is the purpose of an energy transfer document?

To avoid being caught off guard in the event of a problem, we go over with you all the essential points related to electricity and gas contracts for tenants.

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Moving in: how to be supplied with electricity and gas?

As a tenant, you will have to take certain steps concerning your property. Usually, “minor repairs and maintenance” caused by normal wear and tear are the responsibility of the occupant, while major work related to housing health and safety is the responsibility of the owner. But what about the supply of energy? This is a crucial point, especially when you move in. It would be most annoying if you found yourself without electricity or gas just a few days after moving in!

1. Is the energy contract in your name or that of the owner?

Before signing your lease contract, clarify this point with your landlord: is it you or they who will sign the electricity contract (and gas, if applicable)?

If it is the landlord who takes care of it, then you don’t have to take any administrative steps. You will simply have to pay these rental charges, either by paying your landlord a monthly installment (based on your actual consumption), or by paying a fixed fee.

However, it should be mentioned that having the contract in your name is a considerable advantage. This would allow you to choose at will the energy contract that best matches your consumer profile, and thus reduce your bills with a more beneficial price plan. Plus, it saves you the risk of being cut off in case your landlord does not pay their bills.

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2. Take out an energy contract (if you haven’t done so already)

If you move into a property without having taken out an energy contract, you will still be able to benefit from electricity and gas cover. The energy supplier of the previous occupant remains responsible for the supply point during the transition period.

However, if after 30 days you still do not have a compliant energy contract, the supplier is no longer obliged to supply the property, and your electricity and gas could suddenly be cut off! To avoid this inconvenience, take the necessary steps to choose an energy supplier before you move in (unless your landlord takes care of it).

Once you have confirmed your supply contract and the start date, you can settle into your new home with peace of mind.

3. Check the meter and complete the “energy transfer” document

If the contract is in your name, you will have to complete certain tasks when you move in. The first will be to check the electricity and gas meters. Then, we strongly recommend that you complete the energy transfer document (in PDF) with your landlord or former tenant. This is a document that clearly states the reading of the meter(s) on the date of your move. To be valid, both parties must co-sign it. In the event of a possible conflict (for instance if the energy supplier charges you an incorrect amount), this document will therefore allow you to prove your actual level of consumption.

>> You can download them here in French, in Dutch, or in English.

During the term of the lease: what are your obligations?

As mentioned above, your landlord is responsible for major works and you for the regular maintenance of the property. For you as a tenant, this means the following tasks (among others).

  • Read the meters : in principle, you must take your meter readings every year and communicate them to your distribution system operator (DSO). To this effect, ensure that the area that houses the meters is always dry and well ventilated. However, your landlord may prefer to assume this task themselves so they can check consumption levels. So clarify this point with them so that the reading goes smoothly.
  • Maintain the boiler regularly: a well-maintained boiler means less energy loss, and therefore a better-heated home. If you do not know how to go about it, rest assured, you can consult our guide on this subject.
  • Be a reasonable consumer and a responsible tenant: in addition, also take care of your electrical installations and replace old bulbs with LED bulbs. In short, just act as a responsible tenant and maintain the installations you use.

Moving: what to do when changing address?

A tenancy is, in principle, a fixed-term stay. Therefore, there will come a time when you will vacate the premises. So what steps need to be taken in terms of your energy supply in this case?

>> Read also:  Moving house: what to do with your energy contracts?

1. Transfer the contract or cancel it?

If the energy supply contract is in your name, you will have a choice:

  • cancel it and take out a new one,
  • or keep it (and thus transfer it to your new home).

In the second case, you must inform your supplier of your move by giving your new address, the EAN code assigned to the supply point and the supply start date. All you need to do in most cases is fill out a form on the supplier’s website.

However, we recommend that you go with the first option instead, which is to change your contract – or at least check the status of your prices compared to the market average. Your situation has probably changed since you took out your current contract and the prices have probably fluctuated as well. It is therefore in your interest to reassess your contract by comparing it to current plans.

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2. Take a meter reading and complete the “energy transfer” document

When leaving your rental property, you will need to take a meter reading. This is a simple procedure that will determine your level of electricity (and gas) consumption when you leave. As soon as you have done this, send it to your distribution system operator and your energy supplier.

>> Free tool: ORES, RESA, Fluvius or Sibelga? Find your DSO!

In addition, it is recommended that you complete the energy transfer document straight away with your landlord or new tenant.

>> You can download the energy transfer documents here (PDF)

The purpose of this process is the same as when you arrived in the property. By making the meter reading official, both parties protect themselves from potential conflict with regard to the level of consumption. This is all the more necessary if the contract is in the name of your landlord, because this will allow you to adjust the instalments you have paid.

Did you know? If you are unable to take a proper meter reading with your landlord or new tenant, you have the right to ask the DSO  to close the meters (i.e. to seal them). The DSO will then communicate your reading to your supplier. This procedure is called the MOZA procedure (for “Move-Out Zonder Afspraak”, i.e. move out without appointment). It is completely free.

3. Pay your final bill

After receiving your last reading, your former supplier will calculate your actual energy consumption between the last adjustment and your move. If it turns out that you have paid more than necessary for your advance invoices, you will receive a refund. Otherwise, you will have to pay the shortfall to your supplier to end your contract at your old address.

Obviously, if the contract is in the name of your landlord, the procedure will be different. In the event that you pay your landlord instalments based on your actual consumption, you will have to arrange the adjustment with them. If, on the other hand, you pay your landlord a fixed fee, no adjustment is necessary.

Electricity and gas contracts for tenants: what to remember when you manage your own supply

Here is a summary of your rights and obligations as a tenant with regard to the supply of energy:

  • When you move in:
    • Check whether your landlord is responsible for signing an energy contract or not.
    • If not, find an energy supplier. You can use for this.
    • Upon arrival, check the meters and complete the energy transfer document (2 copies – one for you and one for the owner).
  • For the duration of your tenancy:
    • Take the meter reading if the owner doesn’t.
    • Make sure to maintain the boiler, electrical installations, etc.
  • When you move out:
    • Decide if you want to change your contract or transfer it to your new address.
    • When leaving, read your meter, fill out the energy transfer document (2 copies), and send the reading to your supplier and DSO.
    • Pay the final bill once you receive it.

Still have questions about which steps to take when it comes to electricity and gas contracts for tenants? Do not hesitate to contact our energy advisers on 0800 37 369 (free call). We will be happy to answer your call and assist you with any energy-related matters!

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