How to Transfer Utilities Before You Move

June 30, 2021 / Posted in Before the Move
Gemma Collins

Gemma is an NJ local that has explored all the US states, making her the perfect person to write about moving.

When we think of relocating, we imagine the entire work lying on packing and finding creative ways to save space and money. What we tend to overlook more often is that there’s a lot more to do behind the scenes, like figuring out how to transfer utilities. Luckily, this part isn’t too complicated, just a bit more bureaucratic, and requires spending some extra time on the phone. There are steps to learn this, so do your research.

figurines of houses and a bag pictured in front of a blank background
Taking care of electric and water bills before the move is vital

How to Transfer Utilities Weeks Before Relocating and Settle Balances Without Stress

If you thought utilities could be taken care of in a couple of days, you’re mistaken. That’s the part that’s easy to forget when you move and could cause issues if the balances aren’t settled on time. If you end up suddenly taking care of everything when getting organized for a move, that’ll quickly become a rabbit hole you never wanted to go through. Make sure you’re well organized in taking care of electricity, cable, water, gas, Internet, and cell phone at least four weeks before relocating.

Contact all the service providers to let them know that you’re moving, and ask them how to transfer utilities when buying a home, or if necessary, how to transfer bills to another name. Most times, taking care of transferring will only require a chat on the phone, but some contracts may require you to sign documents in person.


Why Is It Important to Move Utilities So Early?

Consider that bills are renewed and paid monthly and typically arrive at the beginning or the end of the month. Canceling each account at the end of a charge cycle will help avoid missed payments. Doing it at the beginning of a charge cycle is also a good idea because you’ll still have everything before moving day.

A monthly cycle is four weeks, so that’s the least amount of time recommended for taking care of recurring bills. Most of the time, the best option is to call service suppliers and ask them about potential ways for transfer. Make sure to do this before any bills arrive because some can be canceled faster than four weeks.

Gas and electricity bills and a calculator on a desk
It’s best to take care of bills four weeks before relocating

How Do I Transfer a Utility Bill to Another Name?

Maybe you’ve sold the home to another owner or have freshly become a landlord and are renting out to a tenant. When trying to transfer bills to anyone else, it’s important to note that most normally remain signed onto the previous owner’s name, and changing that doesn’t come so easily.

In terms of how to transfer the electric bill to a new owner, generally, doing this isn’t possible. They have to apply with their documents at the same address and choose a preferred service plan because you won’t be the one paying utility bills at that home anymore. While it seems like it’d be simpler to change the name on the contract, the opposite is more true.

How Do I Transfer Utilities to a New Tenant?

It’s possible to cancel the amenities on your old address if you’re planning on having a tenant, but you can’t put the utility bills you’ve been paying to another name. You have to cancel them and possibly point out which services and companies you used while living there because sometimes old electricity and water supplies get renewed by the companies that provided them.

For example, the Landlord-Tenant Law in California is heavily pro-tenant regulated, and bill costs are divided by agreement, or they’re fully the landlord’s responsibility. Even in New York State, where the Landlord-Tenant Law is more biased towards landlords, the responsibility for paying utility bills can be divided and even fall more on the renter’s side.

two people signing papers
It’s not always recommended to put utilities in someone else’s name

The Benefits of Canceling Instead of Transferring Services

The benefits of canceling rather than transferring are higher and better for the long term. Transferring requires more paperwork and causes complications sometimes, and canceling normally runs smoothly. If you plan to be a landlord, having bills in your name could mean having all the responsibilities but not getting any benefits.

To break even with the costs in your name, the rent you decide would have to be higher, making it challenging to find tenants. Another thing that could come up from this is that if you do get tenants to rent out the place, they could abuse the free services at your expense. People you rent to may attempt to take advantage of you and the space. It all makes it seem like there’s no way to win.

Canceling utility payments and simply renting out the place would make rent lower but more accessible to people. Also, it’s generally true that when anyone has that responsibility of having bills in their name, they tend to behave more responsibly, which will let you have peace of mind and not worry about tenants while attempting to fit in after relocating to another city.

a pair of glasses on top of documents
Canceling all amenities before relocating seems like the best option

How Do I Set Up Utilities When I Move?

We discussed how to transfer utilities to a new owner, but not how you can have them in your name in case of cross-country moving. If you’re going from a small town to a big city, then you could ask the neighbors about providers they use and if they’d recommend them. In case of relocating into an apartment and having a landlord, you could ask what they provide or recommend, are there rules to choosing service suppliers, and so on.

There may still be benefits from the same cable and Internet providers from the old address when relocating to another state when relocating to another state. Still, each state surely has different regulations to learn about when it comes to electricity and water. The most important piece of advice to remember about any type of relocation is to research the area you’re going to. That’s easy to do with some browsing on the Internet and a couple of phone calls.

For example, if you’re finally shacking up with a long-distance partner, try to come to an agreement about whose name will be put on recurring bills. However, if your partner already owns a home, all the bills will be in their name. If you made compromises with moving in together, there’s probably compromise about what to pay for, too.

How to Set Up When Moving to Another Country?

In other cases of moving over long distances, such as going to another country, there may be more preparations to do than simply wondering how to transfer a water service, say. You must have researched the city and area you’re going to, as well as how to manage any monthly expenses while staying there. Perhaps the landlord and tenant-applicable laws are different in the country you’re moving to.

In any case, fitting into a different place across borders or overseas can be daunting. Without worrying about the electric and water bills, there’s a lot to handle, the relocation stress becomes higher, and moving away from friends and everything you know harder. Take a rest and look at some video advice on how to set up your brand-new place.

The Most Important Questions to Ask Service Companies

For many people nowadays, especially millennials, making phone calls has become a more daunting task than others. However, when it becomes necessary to call, such as when relocating for the first time, you can prepare by writing down the most important questions to ask a service provider.

When canceling recurring bills, ask these questions:

  • How long will it take to turn off everything?
  • Is there a fee for canceling the utility?
  • Will I need to be at home when you come to turn everything off?
  • Can someone else be present when you come to turn everything off?
  • Is there a discount for canceling before the pay day?
  • Do you offer services in other states/cities?
  • Can I transfer or open a new account with you, but from a different place?
  • Do I need to have tools or papers ready when someone arrives to turn everything off?

There may be more questions to consider, but these are the basic ones for taking care of duties like these.

When setting up recurring bills with new providers, ask these questions:

  • How can I get the same amenities as in my previous residence?
  • What kind of payment plans do you offer?
  • What benefits do you offer to new users?
  • What benefits do you offer to recurring users? (this is if you prefer to use the same suppliers at a different place)

Finally, if you’re moving into a building where everyone uses the same providers, or you have a landlord, ask these questions:

  • What amenities are covered in the building/apartment/area?
  • Which payments am I responsible for?
  • What am I required to pay?
  • Are any utilities excluded from renting?
  • Are any providers exclusive to this building/apartment/area?
  • Can I replace the existing amenities with other/cheaper ones?

In any case, it should be OK to ask suppliers, landlords, tenants, and anyone else you’re dealing with any questions you’d like to have answered. Communicating clearly and sensibly to people from all walks of life makes anything easier. These few questions listed can either carry the conversation or simply push it in the right direction.

two people looking at a document
Make sure to ask your provider everything you want to knowtwo people looking at a document

What Not to Do When Attempting to Transfer Utilities

Just like we mentioned what to do with utility bills, there are some things you shouldn’t do, too. For example, if hiring long-distance movers or cross-country movers, don’t contact them about your electrical bill. A long-distance moving company will offer moving services, very often they’ll provide packing services, and many give the options of hiring auto transport. You can ask movers about other things, which means bills are something you should do alone after booking your move with a car shipping company.

Whatever you do, don’t wait for the last week to cram everything into. You may have spent the entire time thinking about the best time to relocate, how to organize an office relocation, or perhaps the best way to relocate with your pets. All these problems can distract from the important stuff, like canceling utility bills. If you do pack last minute, contact the providers and check how fast everything can be taken care of. Whatever you do, don’t leave it for someone else to solve.

What Not to Do When Moving Into an Apartment

When trying to set up a new apartment, it’s essential to talk to the neighbors and see if there are rules and regulations for all tenants. So, don’t just settle in without communicating with neighbors first, or even at all. Making friends can help in the long run.

In addition, don’t attempt to install other amenities next to the ones already at the apartment, at least not before you check their costs and options. There might be conflicting bills, and there’s no need to overpay for stuff when you’re already breaking the bank. Organize the documents you have, check if there are any other  relocation mistakes that need fixing, and then deal with extra amenities.

a piggy bank in front of some boxes
It’s better to make choices that won’t break the piggy bank

Thinking About Everything in Advance Will Make You Reliable

Based on all the information above, planning and being on time with your tasks is the most important factor when relocating. Canceling important things in due time will bring you points with tenants, other owners, and landlords alike. Not just that, but the benefit of avoiding legal and contractual conflicts might be the best of all.

Now, it’s only time to read about some relocation tips, hire an auto transport company and long-distance moving services, make sure to tip the movers and head out to the place where other goals and dreams await.

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