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  • Holiday Lets

    Fair usage for utilities

    Hi All,

    We've been fortunate enough to recently add a holiday let to our portfolio. All going great thus far but I'm just wondering have any of you an idea of how to implement a 'fair usage' policy with heating and electric etc.

    When the house was renovated British Gas installed a new boiler and I got a deal on a Hive controller with the package. This is great as I can remotely monitor and control whats going on with the heating.

    There hasn't been a problem with guests so far, even though we've had some quite cold weather. All have used the heating as I would have done and not taken advantage. However... a recent stay highlighted a major problem.

    It's possible to control the heat remotely, switch it off, turn up or down, set schedules, set up notifications etc but unfortunately Hive doesn't allow you to set a maximum temperature. So you can imagine my shock when over the course of a two night stay recently (last week in fact) the guests were ramping the thermostat up and up and up and not bothering to turn it down...

    The scheduled temperature is set for 20 degrees, with information in our welcome pack on how to 'boost' this for a set period of time if temperatures drop to an uncomfortable level. These particular guests were not using the boost button but just overriding the schedule control. At one point the temperature had been set to 32 degrees! This is ok during the day as I can control it accordingly but on checking back through the previous two days records it was obvious they had turned the temp up at midnight and just left it on. I don't wan't to be woken at 3am just to turn the bloody heat down.

    As stated above, Hive do not at the moment have a maximum temperature setting.

    Any advice please would be much appreciated.

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    Congrats on your holiday let Paul!  Would love you to start a separate thread, if you could write a little case study about how you found it, what you were looking for, how you set it up etc. and perhaps some photos?

    On the rare occasion that utilities excess happens, you probably just have to take it on the chin.

    Our managing agent takes a "good housekeeping" deposit of £250.00, so if there is any damage or over use of utilities, then this can be deducted from the deposit.  Put a clause into your guest agreement that "reasonable use of utilities is covered", but excessive use will incur a charge.

    ​Hope that helps?

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    Thanks Vanessa, yes I can do a write up for you and we have pre and post renovation pictures. Just point me in the right direction on how to get that on PT please.

    Our managing agents are Sykes Holiday cottages, I will chat to them tomorrow about the 'reasonable use of utilities' clause you speak of, I'm sure they must have something. Would you put a mention of this in your welcome info.

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    Yes, I would.

    To create a case study, start a new thread exactly as you did this thread.  See also - How to upload an image to Property Tribes .  If you get stuck, email the pictures to me and I can insert them for you. Smile

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    I have hive at home and at our holiday let. I personally set ours at 22 degrees from 7 am to 11pm when we have guests. As I stay there myself and feel the cold I know that 22 c is a comfortable temperature in a Victorian cottage with no cavity walls.

    If my guests needed it higher than that then u would be fine with it. They are after all on holiday and I wouldn't expect them to be colder than they are at home.

    As it was only 2 days then I would just let it go. I also give them a a bucket of coal for the multi fuel stove.

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    We also have Hive but are still renovating so we’ve not encountered this problem yet. We are fully electric and the Hive controls the underfloor heating but upstairs we have radiators on individual thermostats. These cannot be put on Hive so we have even more exposure to guests turning the heat up!

    Anyway, bad luck on your experience, hopefully it’s a one-off. In this case I would be tempted to check the temperature at bedtime and turn it down...

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    Agree totally Chrissy, ask yourself are you running a business or is it a hobby. You can only 'take it on the chin' so many times before you're knocked down remember...


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    I just take it on the chin, to be honest - we're on oil, but I think better an extra £10 on the oil bill and a very happy guest who tells their friends how warm and cosy the place is.

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    Faint heart never won fair holiday let...

    I agree with that. A glowing review is worth more than a bit extra on the heating bill. In fact it's priceless! My sister recently stayed in an air bnb property and had to phone the host as it was so cold they kept their coats on! She was told that it should be OK as the thermostat was set to 18.5¡ Needless to say, whilst she loved the property she mentioned the cold in her review. That would certainly put me off booking it, especially with young children.

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    Agreed.

    Reviews will make or break a holiday let.

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    Pete

    The Astute Landlord

    Personally I would be annoyed if I found out that the heating was being actively controlled this way. I’m on holiday, don’t be checking up on me mam!

    Fully agree with implementing some form of control as the £250 mentioned above, which would solve the issue without having to actively monitor the bills. Much less stress for yourself as well.

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