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  • HMO & Multi-Lets

    Hot water and heating provision

    Hi,

    I have an HMO with 6 rooms that I am refurbishing and I am looking for some opinions as to what you would consider to be the best and fairest way forward when it comes to provisioning heat and hot water please.

    Tenants are working and have separate tenancy agreements.  Each room has their own electric meter for the sockets and electric heating,  I cover the cost of all the lighting, kitchen sockets and gas cooker - by adding extra onto the room meters. There is an electric shower on a meter as is the hot water tank.

    With respect to the meters, they are Ampy electric card meters.  I have noticed that the cards can be bought off ebay at less than face value.  Would it be better to upgrade the electric meters, if so, any suggestions?

    With respect to the heating, the house is double glazed and well insulated so I think that the oil filled electric panel heaters may remain.  I'm not sure how best to heat the common areas, Kitchen, bathrooms, corridors?  Does anyone have any experience with the low power Infra red panel heaters? https://www.suryaheating.co.uk/glass-ir-...anels.html    the property is single phase electric supply.

    On the hot water, I am unsure whether to get a new well insulated electric unvented mains pressure tank, coupled to a meter with boost timers  or get a tankless gas multipoint instantaneous water heater such as a Rinnai https://gasproducts.co.uk/water-heaters/domestic.html  but then the issue is how do I cover the cost of the gas for hot water?  I have read that using gas to heat water is up to a third cheaper than using electricity plus there are no storage issues or running out of hot water problems with the added issue of waiting for an hour for a tank to heat up. Are gas meters available which don't use cards?  There will be one electric shower and two further showers running off the tank or the Rinnai unit whichever solution works out best for hot water.  Another advantage of the tankless  gas system is that there should be a much reduced risk of legionella, as the hot water tank is never kept up to temperature.

    I think the problem with the unvented tank would be that some one using a card to heat the tank may only use say half of it and get narked when someone else uses the other half effectively for free. Plus it will take ages to heat up once depleted.

    I would be interested how others tackle such issues, Energy costs for HMO's are a major consideration.

    Thanks

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    I fail to see how that is cost effective in the long run. As a builder who often refurbished these type premises for clients I recommend a good combination boiler which will give you at least 10 years manufacturers warrantee. The average electric shower last 2 years and is extremely expensive to run.

    You have 6 rooms Central heating and hot water shouldn't cost you more than £1000/year so adding £15/month onto the bill of each room should more than cover the expense.

    Personally I would never expect anyone to live in a room that is only heated by a free standing oil heater. This is the 21 century.
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    With the average dual fuel bill now around £1500 pa - £1000 pa for a 6 bed HMO sounds optimistic given that a family has an incentive to save on fuel use and vice versa in the HMO where the bills are included with rent.

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    I think you are over complicating things. We have a 6 bed and a 5 bed HMO and we pay all the bills, including gas and electric and just factor it intot the rent. The house is well insulated and the bills are actualy reasonable.

    As for electric heaters, you have to beware that you don't downgrade your EPC rating, as these heaters may not give you a good enough rating to be able to legaly rent the property.

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    Thanks Derek, on your point ref EPC, I thought that HMO’s in England are exempt? 

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    cut and paste 4 u

    In particular the government has now clarified that the minimum E energy performance standard (to take effect from 2018) will apply when someone moves into a room or bedsit in an HMO – as long as that HMO already an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
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    Hi - My reading of the regulation is that you may get multiple Council tax bills if you have meters for each tenant's room, as each would be classified as individually rateable?  Is this what you expect?

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rating-manua...reditament

    1.2.1 General Definitions

    A hereditament is a ‘relevant hereditament’ if it consists of property of any of the following descriptions:

    • lands
    • coal Mines and most other Mines
    • certain Advertising Rights
    • meters to measure a supply of gas or electricity
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    Thanks Peter and Derek, Phew! 

    The Council Private Sector Housing inspector visited and didn’t have any issues with the meters, however I did get a £249 ‘fine’ because my wall heaters weren’t hard wired in, just plugged in.

    The EPC thing just gets more and more confusing.  My HMO does not have an EPC and rooms are let on individual tenancies with  communal kitchen and bathrooms, so does this mean I don’t require an EPC?
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    Thanks for all your replies. £1,000 pa for heating and hot water sounds way optimistic.

    It’s going to cost at least £10k to get central heating installed.  The house is well insulated and the wall panel oil heaters do the job fine. A tankless gas water heater will cost me around £1,500 all in, a suitable combi alone will cost £2k - Viessmann storage combi. 18ltrs/min flow rate.

    Ref the EPC, thanks for the vid Vanessa, I am concerned that if I just got on with it and got an EPC, I would be opening up a can of worms as then I would be bound by it.

    I can’t see that adding a monthly allowance to energy bills will work as human nature being what it is means that tenants will just use as much as they want as ‘they’re paying for it and want to get their money’s worth’? This won’t encourage frugality.
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    Re hot water. Today we went and tested our new Combi boiler at our new 5 bed HMO. We had 3 showers and 2 hot water taps running at the same time and we were still geting a good flow of hot water so are more than pleased with it. It is a Worcester  550 highflow floor standing boiler and the only boiler that offers 25lt a minute hot water. We do have a good 6bar of pressure at the mains.
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