Strategies for dividing utility billing

4 Replies

Hey Everyone - 

I have a triplex under contract and am curious on how to approach this situation. The electric is metered by unit but the water is not. Ideally I wouldn't like the tenants to know I'm even paying for the water so they aren't careless. Is there a formula anyone has used to pro rate this cost based off of square footage per unit? Curious on techniques where people have mitigated this issue of being stuck with a large water bill. 

Thanks as always! 

Hi @Matt Zimmerman ,

I usually analyze the water bill for the last 12 months (6 minimum) and come up with the average monthly cost. Then I charge a flat fee per person living in each unit to cover the water cost. In my experience, water usage is related more to the number of people living in each unit rather than to the size of the unit. 

My only exception is when some units are significantly different from others (i.e.: if a unit has a washer and others don’t, this unit will pay some extra for water usage). 

But don’t over complicate this. Come up with a fair and easy way (and be consistent!) to bill the tenants for the water bill and then let them know how much they will be paying each month. 

I know i'm late to reply to this post, but there are several was you can go about this. You can use a straight RUBS method or a 50/50 RUBS method that is a lot easier then you think. 

Here are a few options for Straight Occupancy:

  • Occupant: $100 water bill / 6 occupants total = $16.67 per tenant
  • Square Footage: $ 100 water bill/ 2400 total square feet= .042 cents x the square footage of the unit
  • Bedroom: $100 water bill/ 5 bedrooms (assuming your triplex is (2) 2 bedrooms and (1) 1 bedroom = $20/ bedroom

Example of 50/50 (occupant & sq footage): 

$100 water bill / 2 ($50/ occupants & $50/ square footage) 

$50/ 6 occupants = $8.33 per occupant

+

$50/ 2400 sq feet (est triplex square footage) = .021 cents

For a couple living in a 1 BR 1BA (650 sq ft) = 2 occupants x $8.33 = $16.66 

650 sq ft x .021 cents = $13.65


This couple would pay $30.31 of a $100  water bill. 

If you have any questions, about the "why" to the different methods, feel free to reach out to me. 

I know i'm late to reply to this post, but there are several was you can go about this. You can use a straight RUBS method or a 50/50 RUBS method that is a lot easier then you think. 

Here are a few options for Straight Occupancy:

  • Occupant: $100 water bill / 6 occupants total = $16.67 per tenant
  • Square Footage: $ 100 water bill/ 2400 total square feet= .042 cents x the square footage of the unit
  • Bedroom: $100 water bill/ 5 bedrooms (assuming your triplex is (2) 2 bedrooms and (1) 1 bedroom = $20/ bedroom

Example of 50/50 (occupant & sq footage): 

$100 water bill / 2 ($50/ occupants & $50/ square footage) 

$50/ 6 occupants = $8.33 per occupant

+

$50/ 2400 sq feet (est triplex square footage) = .021 cents

For a couple living in a 1 BR 1BA (650 sq ft) = 2 occupants x $8.33 = $16.66 

650 sq ft x .021 cents = $13.65


This couple would pay $30.31 of a $100  water bill. 

If you have any questions, about the "why" to the different methods, feel free to reach out to me. 

Be sure to check your local/state regulations. Some areas don’t allow breaking out utility bills unless they are separately metered.

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