To promote energy saving in the residential sector Directive 2012/27/EU has set the obligation for buildings supplied by central heating sources to install individual heat metering and accounting systems. However, in social housing, bills based exclusively on individual consumption should be unfair due to some unfavourable situations, such as first and top floors, presence of unheated common spaces, north oriented dwellings. Nevertheless, fair heat accounting rules should be introduced especially in social housing buildings, which are often thermally underperforming with inefficient heating plants and tenants are commonly low-income people and elderly. On the other hand, common regulations for heat accounting providing compensation to avoid inequalities among tenants have not been set and different approaches on this topic are present among EU Member States. In this paper the authors present a new heat accounting method for social housing based on the estimation of extra-consumptions due to building inefficiencies. According to this method, extra-consumptions are charged to all tenants in order to encourage energy efficient retrofit interventions. Finally, the new method has been experimented in a typical social housing building in Italy and compared to other methods applicable in EU, evidencing some advantages and weaknesses. © 2018 Elsevier B.V.