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Moving to a new country means you’ll have to get used to the different types of bills that you will be expected to pay. Most bills come monthly in the UK and it might be worthwhile to have an overview of the bills you can expect to have dropping through the letterbox of your London apartment.

Typical Monthly Bills that you’ll be liable for when living in London:

  • Housing costs: Whether you are renting or paying off a mortgage. You’ll be expected to pay your accommodation costs on a monthly basis. In the case of a rental, your landlord or letting agent will probably ask you to set up a debit order to your bank account which means that the money will be deducted from your bank account on a specific day of the month.


  • Council Tax: this is a tax that is levied on the property that has to be paid whether you are renting or have bought your London home. The amount of council tax you will have to pay varies according to the area of London that you live in. It is graded in bands (A-H) and is based on the value of the property. The council tax bill is sent out on an annual basis and you have the option of paying it as a lump sum or dividing the payments over TEN months. If you move during the year, you are responsible for informing the local council so that your details can be changed and amounts calculated.


  • Car Tax: This is a big one if you’re living in London. Apart from having to pay the congestion charge to drive a motor vehicle in London, you will have to pay car insurance and car tax on your vehicle. Do not fall behind on your payments, or you could face a stiff fine or even have your car impounded.


Consider alternative transport in London!
  • Electricity/Gas/Water: You’ll receive a monthly bill based on your usage during the month. Look around for the most competitive prices for gas and electricity as they can be expensive.


  • TV Licence Fee: This is an annual fee levied by the BBC for the right to watch the public broadcaster, it can be paid monthly.

Your other bills will be for satellite TV (cable),  internet and your mobile phone. Living in London is expensive and you’ll have to keep track of all of your monthly payments so you don’t fall into arrears.

About This BBC TV Licence Fee …

If you are moving to London, you can expect to pay a licence fee to watch the public broadcaster. The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) provides television programming, radio and internet services across England and uses the funds from licence fees to keep it in business. How the BBC differs from other networks and media companies, is that it relies entirely on the funds from licence fees. Other TV channels have advertising breaks during their programmes which pay for the programming. The BBC has no paid advertising on any of their channels.

The yearly cost of a TV licence is £145.50 for a colour TV. A black and white television set is  £49, and yes some people still have them! You can either pay your licence fee on an annual basis or you can pay it using one of the varied payment options that are available to everyone across Great Britain. The monthly option is somewhat complicated. You’ll pay about £25 per month for the first six months (covering your first year of fees) and then £12 per month from the seventh month onwards which takes care of next year’s licence fee. The best thing to do if you’re going to be living in London for a few years is to set up a debit order from your bank account to pay the TV licence, so it’s all handled electronically.

One thing to be aware of is the penalty of ducking out of paying your licence fee. The Brits take their BBC license fees seriously. Detector vans are used to pick up signals from properties in and around London and the fine for not having a valid licence fee can be as high as £1000. Even if you do not have a television and watch the broadcaster over the internet, or on your mobile phone, you are still liable for the licence fee. The BBC is somewhat of a British institution and has some of the best programming in England. A lot of it is broadcast worldwide (BBC America, BBC Entertainment) and it really is worth it.

Get your licence fee as soon as you move into your London rental and you won’t have to think about it again.

If you’d like more advice about moving to London and what to expect, why not book an online consultation with one of our Move Coaches – They’re totally free and you’ll get brilliant advice for expert expats – we’ve all made the move to London ourselves.

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