"Black Friday" is approaching and a whole host of big companies are shouting from the rooftops about apparently special deals. It's a relatively recent phenomenon here, but even before this distinctly American tradition made its way across the Atlantic, the run up to Christmas has been a time for many to take stock of their finances and outgoings as gifting, eating, drinking and being merry shake up the bank balance.

Electrical retailers, supermarkets, travel websites, broadband providers... all of these and more are vying for your attention at this time of year, and in the case of the latter as a tenant in a rented property you might wonder where you stand.

The good news is, you can enjoy the same deals on broadband and other utilities as homeowners. As long as you are paying the bill for a particular utility, you can choose the supplier and the tariff. With the exception of a few notable circumstances you do not need to ask your landlord for permission to make changes like this.

It should come as no surprise that the exceptions to the rule relate to instances where the physical appearance of the property may be affected. For example, in the majority of cases a switch in broadband provider will simply require plugging in a shiny new router while a switch is flicked in a distant office and provider A's customer becomes provider B's customer. But if a new line is required then this is something that you must consult your landlord about and receive their permission for before committing to anything, no matter how attractive the deal is at the time. In the event that your landlord approves such an alteration, be sure to keep a record of any emails or other paperwork confirming that approval.

Similarly a change in gas and/or electricity supplier will typically mean a remote handover and a change of letterhead on the bills, but if the supplier wants to change the meter (i.e. from prepay to normal or vice versa) then again this is something you need to seek landlord's permission for.

In some cases landlords organise utility provision for their properties, and in these instances the tenant pays the bill amount to the landlord. Obviously where this is the arrangement the tenant can't just bypass the landlord and switch suppliers (even if they wanted to, companies would only take such instruction from the bill payer registered with them). If you spy a deal though, there's no harm in bringing this to your landlord's attention and giving them the opportunity to weigh up the pros and cons of a switch.