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What are Landlord's experiences with smart technology/smart heating in your properties?
It used to be that the business was forever paying high gas bills due to tenants turning up the boilers all the time, but we wouldn't find out about it until the next months bills came in. We manage 33 properties so £150 extra on the gas bill each month when multiplied by 33 properties, became an expensive ongoing issue.
Now smart meters are installed in every property, we download each day ( automated by computer ) the daily energy consumption ( both electric and gas ) . So now if a tenant turns up the controls we know about it the very next day!
Presumably these are all HMO's. I'm intrigued to know what action you take, having spied someone turning up the heating.
Data is available online via the British Gas website and is downloadable as spreadsheet format. The software allows a threshold to be set, when the daily consumption breaches this threshold the software then red flags the gas consumption for that property.
Our HMOs have two forms of heating, the primary heating is to all rooms both communal and private in the form of gas central heating, the controls of which are set to maintain the minimum temperature required by the HMO regulations per Local Authority, and timed to come on as per tenants living style. Each bedroom has a secondary heating in the form of wall mounted electric convector heaters, should the tenant choose to this can be turned on to supplement the primary heating.
Tenants pay for electric consumed within their own room via landlord pre-payment meters.
Gas is included in the rent.
On detecting the boiler has been broken into and control turned up, we attend, reset the controls and secure them again.
Should it continue to happen by the same individual, we allow upto three official warnings per tenant, on the third breach we consider the tenant behaviour unacceptable and start eviction proceedings via the courts.
Smart heating? The wife keeps turning our heating off, telling me to put on another pullover. Smart eh?
Most landlords have the utilities put in the tenants name when renting. Now you have created further problems for yourself as these smart meters are very vulnerable to cyber attack. Hackers are able to inflate meter readings and intercept payments. Now you have 33 additional problems to worry about.
PLUS, Once you have them, your stuck, there's no option as best I'm aware to go back to traditional billing
UK target set by the government is to have all homes on smart meters by the end of 2020.
Ain't going to happen.