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Selling a home: final bill payments

You’ve sold your home! Before you leave the building, there’ll be a few final bill payments and redirects to sort. Let's get down to business.

Words by: Nic Hopkirk

Senior Editor

When you sell your home, you’re responsible for paying all of the utilities until the day you leave.

Once you’ve let your utility companies know you’re off, you’ll typically receive all of your final bills a few weeks after you’ve made your exit.

Gas, electricity and water

If you're moving to a new home

Contact all of your utility providers and let them know your forwarding address 48 hours before move day.

That gives them time to stop the supplies to your home - or to change them over to your buyer.

Set your completion date as the cancellation day.

That way they won't charge you - or the person moving into your home - for each other’s usage.

Take meter readings for your gas, electricity - and water if you have a water meter.

If you owe money on your utility accounts, any final bills will normally need to be settled within 28 days.

If you’re in credit, you should be refunded within 28 days.

As a courtesy to your buyer, let them know which utility companies you used for your home, as it may help them to set up their accounts more quickly.

And once you’re out, make sure you cancel any direct debits set up for utilities on the home you’re leaving, just in case your request to cancel them isn’t fulfilled.

As long as you’ve given a forwarding address and contact details, you can settle any final bill payments as they come in.

You’ll also want to make sure that utilities are set up for the home you’re moving into.

As soon as you arrive, take photographs of the meter readings to make sure you’re not charged for any of the previous owner’s usage.

Then start looking for the best energy deals in your area.

Visit Uswitch to find the best deals on energy suppliers for your new home

What if I’m vacating my home before it’s sold?

If you’ve moved into your new home while your old one is still on the market, it’s a good idea to keep the utilities running.

Potential buyers will need to see the home in working order, be able to turn the lights on and check that the boiler works.

If your old home is vacant during winter, the pipes may freeze, so it’s a good idea to put the heating on for a short time each day to help prevent burst pipes from destroying the place.

An adult chatting on the phone in their kitchen while drinking a cup of tea in front of their laptop


Broadband contracts tend to run for 12 to 24 months.

Often suppliers allow you to port your broadband to your new home for a fee - as long as it’s possible to do so where you’re moving to.

If they don’t supply that area, there may be an installation charge for their service, or you may need to change suppliers.

If you're still within your initial contract period, you’ll need to pay an early termination fee to cancel. Otherwise you’re free to just end the contract without penalty.

It’s a good idea to try to get your broadband set up in advance if you can. No one wants to be without Netflix at the end of moving week!

As soon as you know your completion date, find the best provider and get them booked in asap.

Visit Uswitch to find the best broadband deals where you’re moving to

TV licence

You can usually port your TV licence to your new home.

Just make sure you inform the BBC’s TV licencing department of your new address and they’ll sort the rest for you.

Royal Mail redirection

Make sure you let Royal Mail know when you’re leaving and what your forwarding address will be.

Identity fraud can be a real risk when you leave a home. All fraudsters need is a few pieces of mail containing personal information to set up a fake ID.

They can use your old letters to set up bank accounts, passports and driving licences in your name.

So it’s best to be safe and redirect your mail for at least a year.

Redirect your post with Royal Mail

Council tax

When you sell your home, you'll need to let your local authority know where you're moving from and where you're moving to, around a month before you leave.

Make sure you let them know in plenty of time, as you don’t want to find yourself paying unnecessary tax for a home you aren’t living in anymore.

When you leave your old home, you'll receive a final tax bill from your local council. Usually within 28 days of leaving.

If you were in credit with your payments, you can apply for a refund from the council.

When you move into your new home, you'll get a new annual bill from your local council.

If you’re staying with the same local authority, you can keep your current direct debit running.

But if you move to a new local authority, you'll need to set up a new account.

What if my old property's still on the market?

If you still own your old home when you leave it, you'll need to pay a (reduced rate) council tax on it.

Home insurance

Home insurance is the collective term for buildings and contents insurance.

Buildings insurance covers the bricks, mortar and windows of your home as well as any permanent fixtures and fittings, such as bathroom suites and kitchens.

Contents insurance covers anything that’s not fixed in your home – basically what would fall out if you could pick it up and turn it upside down.

When you move home, as long as you use a professional removals company, your possessions will normally be covered by your contents insurance. Check that your policy covers 'goods in transit'.

You should make sure you have buildings insurance in place for your new home on the day you exchange contracts with the seller.

If you want to transfer your home insurance policy to your new address, make sure you let your insurance company know well in advance.

Home insurance premiums take several factors into account, including the type of property and the area it's in, so the cost of the cover may well change when you transfer the policy.

Make sure you include any lovely expensive items you're buying for your new place on the policy too.

Thinking of selling?

Get the ball rolling with an in-person valuation of your home. It’s free and there’s no obligation to sell if you change your mind.

We try to make sure that the information here is accurate at the time of publishing. But the property market moves fast and some information may now be out of date. Zoopla Property Group accepts no responsibility or liability for any decisions you make based on the information provided.