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  • Buy-to-Let

    Coin fed electric meters?!

    I am considering buying a commercial building which is split into a small commercial on the ground floor with three 1 bed flats (on ground, first and second floors). All currently rented which is demonstrating a good yield and no 3% stamp duty surcharge due to it being mixed use, so seems appealing.

    However, when I looked round the first time I asked one of the tenants about electric and his meter etc. He said he puts coins in and has his own meter (there is no gas in the building so all units have electric heating only) and I assumed he meant he had a prepayment meter and inserted a prepaid stick.

    I looked around for a second time and found a meter in one of the other units which is a meter which takes £1 coins! I have never come across this before. I spoke to the company who supply the meters (RDL) and they advised that the landlord receives a monthly bill and empties the coins from each meter. RDL can change the meter to a different type which simply monitors usage which would allow the landlord to divvy up the monthly depending on usage.

    This has spooked me a bit and making me nervous about what otherwise seems like a good investment. Has anyone come across these coin fed meters before and have any advice?

    Thanks

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    I have two flats that share a single meter which is in my name.

    I originally fitted read only meters and ended up with massive electric debt from tenants seperate to rent. I have now fitted card meters which are private to me and sell tokens in £5 increment they work well but I do have to visit weekly which is becoming a bind since I moved house.

    The biggest problem I have is when they are short on rent they still expect to purchase electric which means I am subsidising electric as I never get it back. I intend to put a clause in next lease prohibiting this , rent first, electric second.

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    Why did you not simply make the tenants responsible for buying credit for the card meters - they can then only use the £5 "emergency" credit before supply is cut off?

    I imagine tenants know approx use per week so can budget around that as to how often they need to put credit on meter card.

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    You would most likely be breaking The Protection from Eviction Act 1977 if you deny the tenant electricity due to rent arrears.  This is criminal offence with a risk of a significant time eating porridge.   Us landlords have to separate the supply of essential services from the rent.  Why not use our solution then you don't have to sell them cards

    Further details on our website  https://www.landlordmetering.com or contact us on 01234 484 444

    Gary Wernick

    Landlord Metering

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    I think you replied to wrong person - I was not suggesting anything other than making tenants responsible for own electricity use eg via key meter which they can top up as required.

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    Good Morning,

    The last time i seen meters like this was at Butlins holiday homes when I was a kid...

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    These sub-meters are very common.   It occurs normally when a building is converted as it saves thousands on the conversion.

    We lease smart sub-meters which you can use to replace the coin meters - a straight swap is not Part P notifiable so you could do it yourself.  The tenants can top up via a Freephone telephone number, the internet, auto-recharge and from July 2019 at local newsagent / supermarket with cash.   We deliver the credit via a SIM card in each meter so it is a PAYG system.   You still pay for the electricity going into the site, but we reimburse you for the amount used inside the flats and the commercial unit into your bank account the following month. 

    This means that it is very similar to having a direct connection to the .electricity network with only a minimal involvement from yourself, ie no coins, selling cards, risk of fraud, etc - so I wouldn't let this turn you off the property.   The cost currently £120 deposit per meter for 4 meters, ie £480.  If you search the internet, you will find that you can buy these meters and run them yourself- but you don't want to do this as it will work you out more money for more work.

    We have been actively trading for two years and no have over 250 sites and 1600 meters - with lots of very happy landlords.

    Further details on our website  https://www.landlordmetering.com or contact us on 01234 484 444 for further details if you decide to go ahead.with the purchase

    Gary Wernick

    Landlord Metering

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    thanks, that has alleviated my concerns and will definitely get in touch should I be successful.

    I best look into the water supply as well, hope I don't find coin fed meters there too!

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