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I am setting up my first HMO which and will be including gas, electricity and wifi etc in the monthly room rental.I am concerned about the size of my electricity bill as inevitably tenants will leave lights on all day while they go out to work since they aren't (at least directly) paying the bill. I have thought about using motion detectors to turn off lights in shared areas after say 30 minutes if no motion is detected and possibly in bedrooms as well.Does any one have any experience with these or other measures to help keep the bills down? I am looking for a method which will cause little or no upset with tenants.
yes, these are a must. I give you one example, I have a 21 bed HMO, the electricity bill for 1 month January 2015 was over £4,000 because tenants were plugging in electric heaters, leavings lights on etc.
After installing PIR detectors to turn lights on/off and pre-payment card meters into the rooms, the electricity bill for 1 month was £335.
That is a dramatic reduction in your costs. Is the electricity included in their rent and if so how does the card meter work? Do you give them a certain "allowance" each month and then they have to pay anything above that by topping up their card?
the tenant pays for the electric by purchasing the cards for the pre-payment meters for the landlord.
Hi Mike,Please see:Heating Bills for HMO TimeOStat - heating control product for HMOs Hopefully these should answer your questions. *Edit: Sorry, thought you meant all bills for some reason. Doh! But will leave my comment in case it is useful*
That's OK you just anticipated my second question!
There are a few other things you can do, remember the biggest effect on your bill are heating devices eg Electric Heaters, Kettles, Irons Hairdryers these consume way more electricity than light bulbs.
Thanks Ian. Going back to Arran's comments on using pre paid card meters does anyone have experience of using these where the electricity is already included in the rent, maybe by having some sort of "fair usage" policy where the meter in each room allows a certain amount of electricity to be used over a month.Anything over the preset amount and they need to buy additional usage? Leaving lights on in shared areas and kitchens would be controlled through motion sensing switches
Thanks for that useful contribution Ian. Good shout. This thread is also useful:Upgrading a rental property
I have a problem tenant on a section 21 who has taken to turning up the central heating thermostat, leaving windows open and i suspect has a heater in his room.Although hes going in June im going to dispute his deposit on account that he has broken the terms of the utility fair usage policy and other tenants will provide witness statements to say that the stats have been tampered with whilst he is the only one in the house. I might also change the stat for a locking one, and carryout an emergency entry into his room with a tradesman whilst he is at work ( need to find a good reason first).Even if i cant get £50 taken from his deposit i will drag out the arbitration as long as possible.
Something people might wish to consider with heating bills, normal TRV's which I think most people fit have the standard 5 settings with the top setting 5 usually equating to 25C. Danfoss do a product DANFOSS RA-2914 MAX FIXED SENSOR 5-22C you will see from the description the top setting on this product equates to 22C.
There's lots of information about relating to the costs of heating a house to each additional degree C, this is a slightly more subtle way of controlling the heating costs than locking thermostats and TRV's. I think those landlords who provide energy inclusive rents want our tenants to be warm and comfortable, what we want to reign in are the abuses.