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24th September 2020

Broadband for rented homes and shared houses

Max Beckett
Max Beckett

Broadband expert

Setting up broadband in a rented home and shared housing 

The internet has become an integral part of our daily lives – most of us like to be connected at all times, whether it’s on our phones while we are on the move, or at home using home broadband services. But, broadband can often be overlooked when it comes to searching for a new home.

If you’re looking at prospective properties, broadband should definitely be considered. Broadband speed, contract lengths, cancellation fees and broadband availability are just some of the things you need to think about when you’re looking to rent your next home – it could even save you money.

Tenancy agreements and long broadband contracts

Broadband contracts range from monthly rolling to 24 months and can often last longer than a property rental contract. This could potentially leave you paying for an internet service that you can no longer use when you leave your home if your current internet service provider (ISP) does not provide services in your new residence.

You may also be stuck having to pay out cancellation fees and other unavoidable costs if you have to leave your provider. So, it’s important to do your research; if you’re not sure how long you want to stay in the property, a short broadband contract may be better for you.

Some introductory broadband deals can be tempting and often come with a long contract. If you would rather opt for one of these deals, it’s worth asking the provider about its cancellation policies and fees in case you need to switch providers. You can find out more about cancelling your broadband early here.

Can I stay with my current provider in my new property?

If your current provider is available in your new area, you may be able to continue using its services. If you are able to stay with your current ISP, your old router should work just fine in your new house. In some cases, an engineer may be called out to get you set up.

There are some instances, though, where your provider cannot provide services to your new home because it’s not technically possible. To be prepared, it may be worth looking at your provider’s procedure for switching broadband before moving to a new house, so you can figure out how easy this will be and how much it could cost. You can find out more about moving house and broadband here.

Will my new landlord already have broadband set up?

Some landlords will set up broadband for tenants, it’s quite common in shared housing, especially for student accommodation. Before you move into a home with included broadband, you should find out exactly what type of broadband is being made available to you. Be sure to consider the following: 

Speed and data

If the internet speed is too slow or has a small download limit, it may not be suitable for your internet needs. Bear in mind if you are living in shared housing with multiple occupants, you will typically need better broadband speed and bigger data usage allowances as more people will be using it. For busy households you should ideally have broadband speeds between 34 and 108Mbps. 

Security

You may have security concerns if you are not in full control of the internet service and Wi-Fi router. To reduce any risk of your online activity being monitored you could use a VPN service. 

Cost

It can be common for landlords to include the price of broadband in your rent and so you don’t need to worry about paying extra for broadband. However, this isn’t always the case. 

Be sure to check with your landlord what the arrangements are for paying for inclusive broadband, especially if there are other tenants responsible for the broadband bill too. If you feel like the broadband deal your landlord currently has is not the best one for you, you should bring this to your landlord’s attention.  

Can I change my landlord’s broadband plan?

If you’re not happy with the current broadband package provided by your landlord, you may want to shop around and find a better deal. Before you move into your rented property and sign the tenancy agreement, you should have this conversation with your landlord.

If you live in a shared house, the decision to switch providers may also affect other tenants, so your landlord will have to consider this too. Some landlords will allow you to change providers after you have moved in, but it could take a little bit of time before your new internet is up and running.

For example, with Plusnet broadband it can take up to 10 working days to have your new broadband set up. 

If your landlord is not prepared to let you switch providers, then you may want to consider finding an alternative property to rent if it’s a deal-breaker. 

Managing broadband in a shared house

If you live in a home with other tenants, managing your broadband can be a little more complicated. It doesn’t matter how many people are in the household, there can only be one account holder for your broadband. So, if you have volunteered yourself to be the account holder, you need to make sure that all members of the house are paying the agreed amount because the responsibility of paying the bill falls on you.  

If the account holder decides to move out of the home, they are able to take their broadband account with them. This could leave the house without internet and you will need to find a new broadband provider. However, the account can be transferred over to another tenant living in the house if they agree to it. 

Broadband access

If there is a working phone line in the property you intend to rent, then you should be able to get broadband fairly easily – it’s just a case of plugging in your broadband modem. Sometimes there may not be a line installed, so you may need your internet provider to do this for you.

To do this, you will have to speak to your landlord to get permission, and you should get that permission in writing. If you’re looking for ultrafast fibre broadband, you might need to have fibre-optic cables installed if they are not already present. Again, you should seek permission from your landlord before signing up with your preferred provider. 

Finding the best broadband deal

If your landlord is happy for you to set up your own broadband, then you can begin searching for the best package that will meet your internet needs. The type of package you need will vary depending on whether you live in shared housing or on your own. 

Shared housing

  • Basic broadband – If your home is only shared with one other person, and you both don’t typically use the internet excessively, then basic ADSL broadband would be fine. It offers maximum download speeds of around 24Mbps and is the cheapest type of broadband available.

  • Fibre-optic broadband – If there are around three to five people sharing the home, you may benefit from fibre-optic broadband. This will be suitable for standard internet use and some streaming and online gaming. You can expect speeds of 35–67Mbps.

  • Ultrafast / Full Fibre – If there five or more people are sharing the home, you would ideally need to consider some of the faster fibre packages available – especially if your household are regular online gamers and like to stream movies and TV shows. Virgin Media offers packages providing broadband speeds exceeding 100Mbps, which may be ideal. 

Standard housing 

Even if you’re not in shared accommodation, the type of internet you need will depend on how big your family is. If you’re just using the internet for basic tasks like browsing the web, it’s unlikely you will need a very fast connection.

However if you have a large household, or if you are a fan of online gaming and streaming movies, a speed of up to 300Mbps would be best, but those speeds aren’t available to many UK premises at the moment. You can find out more about how to choose the best broadband deal here.