How to not lose money without submetering?

6 Replies

Closing on a 5plex.  Just got the submetering quotes and they are.... 5x what I thought they would be.  If I need to go forward with shared utilities what are somethings I can do to mitigate the damage?

Have the utilities in your name, and bill the tenants. You can do this via a third party company (look up RUBS, ratio utility billing service) where the monthly bills are passed on proportionally. Alternately, you can do it yourself and take the average of the past 12 months bill's and divide by the number of tenants who live in the building & bill accordingly, etc.

@Ryan D. I will look into RUBS.  All of the shared by tenant stuff triggers my "but what if its unfair because one guy likes his heater on with the window open" reaction.  I might just need other owners to rub my head and tell me everything will be alright.

@Jackson Long

What meters are you submetering?  Water? Electric?  Gas?  There are gauges that you can attach to the meter that feeds into individual units that read how much water usage is being used for each unit.  This would be the fairest way and cheaper than having the utility company come sub-meter it.  Downside is that you will still be responsible for the initial payments and depend on your tenants to pay you their share.  Alternatively, build the utility payments at a flat rate into their rent.  Figure out how much the total utilities cost you monthly/annual and build it into their rent.  Tenants would rather pay the same every month than to worry about additional bills each month.

Then think about low-flow fixtures.  If you have older faucets, toilets, and shower heads, you may want to think about upgrading to low-flow fixtures.  It would dramatically help.

@Henry Chi thank you!  Any thoughts on the best way to estimate what the costs will be?  Building has been vacant a good long time.