Ratio Utility Billing System (RUBS)

49 Replies

@Shea Spinelli  

If you PM me, I can send you a sample XL spreadsheet that you can customize that we use to apportion the expenses among the Tenants .. Works equally well for either Gas or Water.

Originally posted by @Brooklyn R.:

@Shea Spinelli  

If you PM me, I can send you a sample XL spreadsheet that you can customize that we use to apportion the expenses among the Tenants .. Works equally well for either Gas or Water.

 @Brooklyn R. would you mind also send me your sample XL spreadsheet? I'm considering a multi family deal and one of the upside is to implement water RUBS ..

@Brandon Yuan make sure to visit the Texas PUC site too for guidance on implementation. This pertains to water and sewer. We are using the same guidance for implementing RUBS for gas. After contacting the Railroad Commission, who govern use of natural gas in Texas, I was informed they don’t have guidelines. We believe it would be prudent to follow the specific disclosures, timelines, and guidance the utility commission has for water/sewer with gas too. Let me know if you need anything from us to help you.

@Ken Martin I've also been looking for this, from my experience the larger national companies aren't interested in smaller properties, we are ballparking utilities based on historical info and charging a monthly fee which we will adjust annually to make sure we are recouping that cost. If you do end up finding a local company that offers this for smaller buildings I'd be interested in working with them as well. There's always the traditional sub-metering option if you are going in and doing some extensive work to the property as well but I've found that to be prohibitively expensive on my properties so far. 

Submetering is waaaay too expensive...  Forget it!

Just RUBS it yourself, using a relatively simple RUBS spreadsheet and open & transparent billing to your (new) Tenants. (Make sure a thorough discussion of your RUBS billing is included in your new Leases).  

@Mo Weis Feel free to share the info with us!

@David Edwards @Ken Martin I found the same thing! Check out Submeter Solutions out of Washington. www.submetersolutions.com. They gave us a quote to do water and gas for roughly 7k. Obviously, we'll still have labor costs, but they were helpful.

We have one more duplex to complete separation on for electricity and all electrical costs will be the tenants responsibility. Then it's on to the other utilities.

Ultimately, we are probably going to go the route @Brooklyn R. suggests with RUBS. Seems more cost effective.

@Shea S.

Good luck! As long as you duly amend your Leases, properly manage your Tenants' expectations, and send transparent statements, you'll have no problems (and wonder why you didn't do it earlier!)

RUBs are simple, (billing W&S based on number of occupants, or fixtures, or sq. footage).  RUBs are not based on consumption, therefor tenants/residents lack positive reinforcement (lower overall rental expense) to conserve water or even report a cycling toilet.  Some states do not allow RUBs due to the inherit unfairness of the allocation of the apartments' W&S  expenses .

Although sometimes not economically feasible in older properties, water sub-metering is practically unanimously accepted through the US. Independently documented saving in water and sewer use is 25 to 35% is the normal. With sub-metering a owner will: Quickly identify water leaks; Promote common sense water conservation; Mitigate catastrophic plumbing events; Lower their tenants' over all rental expenses.

@Daniel Helton

All agreed, except that after we implemented RUBS Water billing, we witnessed Water usage in a 3-Family we manage drop 35%.   I believe the  key to success are the constant reminders to tenants to conserve water (and thus, save money)

Synergyutilitybilling.com

Not cost effective for small multi  as I believe they require a monthly minimum. Been in  business 10+ years and servicing properties all over the country. 

@Brooklyn R. & @Daniel Helton I am about to take on a new to me older multifamily property (4 plex). I am curious how you handle the utility bill back process with RUBS. I am an engineer so the math for calculating what is due based on sqft and occupancy isn't a challenge. However, I can't quite figure out how to do the bill back.

I assume, I get the utility bill on lets say the 5th. Then I do the math and send the bill to the tenants on the 6th. From there do you treat the utility bill like rent? Due on the ___ of every month with a grace period and then start charging late fees? I know this is getting into some state specifics (I'm in Nebraska) but It would be good to know what is done by you folks so I know how to talk it over with the attorney. Thoughts?

@David A.

We always fully pay the Utility bills as soon as they become due, and then add the pro-rata cost to each tenants' monthly rent bill as "Added Rent."  Added rent is treated exactly like normal rent.

If you PM Me, ill send you a sample spreadsheet we use.

@Brooklyn R. - can you clarify how you implement RUBS with existing tenants, especially ones that have been in the building for years? Do you have them sign new leases with the RUBS language included?

@Cliff T.

Yes. We wait until their existing lease expires, and then respectfully explain that, with the new Lease, if they wish to stay, they'll have to agree to pay for what they use.   It hasn't been an issue yet.

I use RUBS water billing (w/o submeters) for ALL of my Properties. Been doing it for over 10 years! (Best move I ever made!) Water usage went down 40% after we implemented RUBS...

Don't shouldn't ALL Landlords did this? It's a no-brainer...

One of the best things Ive done as a Landlord!