Leaving house unoccupied do you have to pay bills if not using ?

Me and my boyfriend are looking into going travelling for 5-6 months in a couple of years time.
We currently have a mortgage on a house and pay the normal water, gas and electric, council tax etc.
If we were to leave the house completely unoccupied therefore not using water gas and electricity, could we make arrangements with the suppliers not to pay for the months whilst we are away and obviously resume when we return?
Thanks

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  • fierystormcloud
    fierystormcloud Posts: 1,588 Forumite
    edited 10 July 2016 at 9:58PM
    acpullin wrote: »
    Me and my boyfriend are looking into going travelling for 5-6 months in a couple of years time.
    We currently have a mortgage on a house and pay the normal water, gas and electric, council tax etc.
    If we were to leave the house completely unoccupied therefore not using water gas and electricity, could we make arrangements with the suppliers not to pay for the months whilst we are away and obviously resume when we return?
    Thanks

    I'm confused. Why would you need to make arrangements to not pay for your energy and water, when you will be away, so won't be using it anyway?

    As for council tax, no you can't get away without paying that...Not if you're just travelling for 5 months. And you can't stop paying the mortgage of course. Even if you COULD have a 'mortgage break' for 5 months or so; what's the point? All it will do is delay your mortgage being paid off.
    cooeeeeeeeee :j :wave:
  • Neil_Jones
    Neil_Jones Posts: 8,803
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    If you're not going to use them because you're away, the (gas, electric and possibly water) meters won't move, this is assuming you're turning EVERYTHING off, including the fridge and freezer, by flicking the master switch for the electric.

    Regarding Council Tax
    You’ll usually have to pay Council Tax on an empty home, but your council can decide to give you a discount - the amount is up to them. Contact your council to ask about a discount.

    Your council can charge up to 50% extra Council Tax if your home has been empty for 2 years or more (unless it’s an annexe or you’re in the armed forces).

    Most councils in the light of their continued budget squeeze will be very reluctant to give any discount to you unless it's enshrined in law already.

    Your other utilities are primarily based on estimates anyway, a year's estimate divided by 12. All that will happen during the six months you're away is your meters won't move, but you'll still get billed for previous usage and probably estimated readings and build up a credit for use when you come back.

    As for the mortgage, the key phrase "your home is at risk if you do not keep up payments on a mortgage or any other loan secured on it" comes to mind, so if you stop paying that you won't have a house to come back to.
  • p00hsticks
    p00hsticks Posts: 12,573
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    On a related note, your current house / contents insurance is unlikely to cover the scenario you describe and you may have to arrange additional cover. If you are leaving the house empty for any length of time, especially over the winter months, any insurance company is likely to ask that either the central heating / water is drained and switched off, or that the central heating is left on at a minimum temperature, and that the propery is visited and checked at regualr intervals (typically at least once a month)..
  • McKneff
    McKneff Posts: 38,807
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    Gas, electric and water normally have standing charges so you would still have to pay those while you are away.

    It will all even out at the end of the year when they work out your annual bill.
    make the most of it, we are only here for the weekend.
    and we will never, ever return.
  • Robin9
    Robin9 Posts: 11,956
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    Will anyone keep an eye on your house ?

    The garden, post - replacement credit cards, insurance renewals, .......
    Never pay on an estimated bill
  • matelodave
    matelodave Posts: 8,568
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    You will have to pay standing charges for utilities (gas, water, leccy etc) and most will charge you a substantial amount to disconnect and reconnect, probably more than the cost of the standing charge.
    Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large numbers
  • CIS
    CIS Posts: 12,260
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    acpullin wrote: »
    Me and my boyfriend are looking into going travelling for 5-6 months in a couple of years time.
    We currently have a mortgage on a house and pay the normal water, gas and electric, council tax etc.
    If we were to leave the house completely unoccupied therefore not using water gas and electricity, could we make arrangements with the suppliers not to pay for the months whilst we are away and obviously resume when we return?
    Thanks

    It's a temporary absence - for council tax purposes you're regarded as still being resident.

    Craig
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery but instead work as a specialist Council Tax paralegal assisting landlords and Council Tax payers with council tax disputes and valuation tribunals. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
  • footyguy
    footyguy Posts: 4,157
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    acpullin wrote: »
    Me and my boyfriend are looking into going travelling for 5-6 months in a couple of years time.
    We currently have a mortgage on a house and pay the normal water, gas and electric, council tax etc.
    If we were to leave the house completely unoccupied therefore not using water gas and electricity, could we make arrangements with the suppliers not to pay for the months whilst we are away and obviously resume when we return?
    Thanks

    All sorts of issues happen when you leave a property unoccupied continuously for 5-6 months

    Mortgage - You'll need to tell your mortgage provider, but hopefully they will agree

    Insurance - You'll need to inform your insurer, and they will not be happy. At worst you will need to re-arrange insurance cover, but hopefully your current insurer will agree to cover you. Expect a higher premium to be applied, and terms imposed such as the property is inspected every week (internally as well as externally) and a record kept of such inspections. Property will need to be constantly heated to a minimum temperature during specified winter months, or all water systems drained down completely.

    Water & council tax - these will not be affected. However, if you are on a water meter, then presumably there will be lower usage which will be reflected in a lower bill.

    Gas & electricity. Maybe worth consulting a comparison site to find the best deal for the new usage. .But bear in mind you will probably use some energy, especially if you keep the heating on; in fact possibly more than if you were living there!
  • GingerBob_3
    GingerBob_3 Posts: 3,659 Forumite
    footyguy wrote: »
    All sorts of issues happen when you leave a property unoccupied continuously for 5-6 months

    Mortgage - You'll need to tell your mortgage provider, but hopefully they will agree

    Insurance - You'll need to inform your insurer, and they will not be happy. At worst you will need to re-arrange insurance cover, but hopefully your current insurer will agree to cover you. Expect a higher premium to be applied, and terms imposed such as the property is inspected every week (internally as well as externally) and a record kept of such inspections. Property will need to be constantly heated to a minimum temperature during specified winter months, or all water systems drained down completely.

    Water & council tax - these will not be affected. However, if you are on a water meter, then presumably there will be lower usage which will be reflected in a lower bill.

    Gas & electricity. Maybe worth consulting a comparison site to find the best deal for the new usage. .But bear in mind you will probably use some energy, especially if you keep the heating on; in fact possibly more than if you were living there!



    And if they don't agree but you go anyway?
  • pinkladyvenus
    pinkladyvenus Posts: 371
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    edited 17 July 2016 at 7:03PM
    You will have to pay standing charges for utilities (gas, water, leccy etc) and most will charge you a substantial amount to disconnect and reconnect, probably more than the cost of the standing charge. originally posted by matelodave
    EBICO do not charge a standing charge for gas or electric might be worth changing to them before you go travelling
    Sealed pot challenge member 437
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