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  • HMO & Multi-Lets

    Fair use Gas and Electricity Policy

    I'm interested in how people work/word their fair use gas/electricity policies.

    Having looked at a lot of worked examples of HMO costs, they continue to surprise me, in that so little is budgeted for utilities.

    Are HMO's truly 'bills included' or do landlords cover only a small proportion of gas and electricity costs in reality?

    Thanks

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    Hi. I have an HMO with 6 tenants. My gas and electricity bills are on average £220 pm! I have the hot water set on timer 3 times a day which seems to work and, in the winter months the central heating comes on for 3 long periods per day. 

    It’s a continuous problem for me to control costs and I still have not worked out the right way. If they’re too cold I’ve noticed they plug in heaters, if they’re too hot they plug in fans!! I’ve told them not to do either but they ignore me. 

    They are all unrelated so it’s more complicated. 

    I just not sure how to manage this anymore as with price rises the bills are creeping up each month. 

    I’ve been warned off a smart meter as so many people have had problems once installed which I do not want the hassle of. 

    I’d be interested in your thoughts. 


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    I suspect that it is not possible to control behavior through instructions on how and when tenants should/not use utilities including electric heaters.

    I believe the solution is likely to be financially based, but would like to hear from those who have done this.

    Either 1) paying a set amount for gas and electric per month as the landlord to the supplier, any over charge being passed on to tenants

    2) tenants paying for gas and electric and me as landlord repaying them a set amount

    3) meter system where landlord pre-pays a set amount per period and once this has run out, tenants responsible?

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    All those solutions tend to mean going back to the Rigsby days of individual meters in each room - which would incentivise tenants to be a tad more frugal - but complex if there is say only 1 gas boiler in the property.

    The clear issue is that if LL sets rent too high so as to cater for higher bills - that dissuades tenants from applying - though I have seen on other PT threads LLs use a fair use policy in TA - any excess payable by tenant. Which flags that HMOs need more nurse maiding than a single let.

    One small consolation is the bills are tax deductible.

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    obviously the rent is higher to cover utilities.

    I set the room thermostat so the temp. cannot exceed 21 degrees.  no complaints.

    we also have a fair use policy, which is rather cumbersome but have managed to reclaim small amount.

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    Hi, how can we set the thermostat temperature so it cannot exceed 21 degrees? We have the honeywell dial thermostat.

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    its a very low tech solution of super gluing plastic blocks to the dial and casing!  but works.

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    Hi Steve. I fit an Inspire remote system in all my HMO and I have never had a single problem. I set the heating to come on at 6 and off at 8 am and on at 5pm and off at 10pm during the week, heating to 21 degrees. There is a boost button for 30 mins which tenants can use if they want to turn the heating on. A quick analysis of the boost button usage over time and you can adjust your timings to suit your tenants. For example initially I had heating turning off at 9pm but saw they were using boost so adjusted to 10pm. Keeps my gas bills to £70 a month and tenants very happy
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    Whats the problem, I have an HMO with 9 tenants and its very simple. The house has a main meter for gas /elect. Each unit has its own unit meter and when the bill comes in I read the unit meters to work out units used. Then charge the going unit cost plus standing charge and vat charge is apportioned among each tenant. For one bathroom shared the same applies. The difference in units from those collected and total units is the common areas which i pay. This works out very well as any increase or decrease in unit cost is calculated on each time the bills come in. Also this way I am in control of switching should

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    computer hiccup-  switching should I find cheaper prices. Tenants are happy as they know the cost of power and know I will always switch for lower costs or find the best deal at any one time. This way my power costs are fully covered as these are in additional to the rental costs. Trying a set rents with a figure for power means you are out of pocket more often than not and also it makes tenants aware of what they are paying. So no lights, heating etc left on in their units as they are paying for it. Finally this way i can react immediately to changing prices either way up or down.

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