ASK AN EXPERT: Can foreign renters in Czechia have utilities in their name?

We spoke with the realtors at Engel & Völkers about what your rights are when it comes to utilities. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 07.03.2023 15:00:00 (updated on 05.06.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

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As a renter in the Czech Republic, agreeing on utility payments can be tricky for foreign tenants, especially as landlords may insist on managing the accounts. What are your rights when it comes to utilities as a renter? We asked Ondřej Hlaváč, head of residential rentals, at Engel & Völkers to explain the tenant's rights and whether or not utilities should become a barrier to negotiating a lease.

In the Czech Republic, Hlaváč says it's common that roughly about half of all landlords prefer to keep the electricity and gas in their own name.

"This is in case the tenant stops paying for energy and the owner doesn't know about it, which could lead to cutting the apartment's electricity reader or gas reader," he says. On the other hand, some landlords prefer to transfer these bills to the tenant so they aren't required to do billing once per year.

Nationality and utilities

If you prefer to transfer gas and electricity accounts into your name, this is relatively simple as long as you have permanent residency within the EU. If not, utility companies will ask for the signature of a guarantor, a person with residency in the EU who will guarantee the bills will be paid.

Energy companies do not allow the account to be transferred (without a guarantor) to citizens from outside the EU. Under these circumstances, it's easier to keep it in the landlord's name and make prepayments.

While you may transfer gas and electricity to your name, other utility costs, such as water, can't be transferred. In the case of water bills, the tenant is obliged to give the landlord advance payments not only for water but also for other building costs such as waste disposal, cleaning of common areas, reception, and other services connected with the building.

In some houses, meters for hot water or for heat in the apartment are missing. In this case, the fees are regulated by a decree (vyhláška) that calculates fees for all housing units mostly based on the apartment’s area for heating and according to the number of people in the apartment for hot water consumption. (That's the simplified version, the exact details of Decree No. 269/2015 and how it's calculated can be found here.)

Your rights as a tenant

Tenants do have rights, however, when it comes to accounting for utilities. Landlords must show invoices once per year and compare them against the prepayments made by tenants. The landlord is required to refund overpayments. On the other hand, if the prepayments if they weren't enough to cover the real consumption costs, tenants are expected to pay more. This is more common now due to rising energy costs.

Should utilities be a barrier to negotiating a lease?

Utilities can sometimes become a barrier in negotiating a lease when the landlord insists on keeping them in his name, and the potential renter doesn't like it or vice versa. But it really doesn't make any sense to argue about the issue.

In the end, it doesn't really matter if the utilities are in the owner's or the tenant's name. In both cases, the tenant pays for their real consumption.

Hlaváč always recommends that tenants keep utilities in the owner's name when they are not EU citizens due to potential complications. But if the tenant is an EU citizen, it really doesn't matter either way.

If you have any further questions about your rights as a tenant in the Czech Republic, contact Engel & Völkers at

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