My girlfriend and I are closing on our first house hack in two weeks. We are planning out the terms of our lease and are deciding on whether or not to include water in rent. The property is a duplex on one water meter. Water will be about $120/month, we got an estimate from the water company.
There are currently tenants that plan to stay. The tricky part is that they are friends of the seller and are paying well below average rent for the area. We want to raise rent to a fair market value, and also tack on another 50-60 dollars and include water. We're just worried that it will be too much of a jump for them and be left with vacancy right off the bat.
So what have some of you house hackers done for the water bill? Seems like it would make the most sense to include it.
Hello Michael! Were you able to figure out the water situation for your first house hack? I will be running into a similar issue soon with our first house hack.
Include it. Especially if it's a split cost. That way the rent doesn't change for the other side based on your bill. Just figure out your cost and build it in to the rent as "included". Are vacancies high in your area? Raising the rent is part of being a landlord. What sort of lease are the tenants on?
I cover the water bill and consider it included in the rent. If the apartments are not seperately metered, it doesn't make sense to charge a fee for water. Just charge market rent.
@Michael Fundaro , I understand it may be uncomfortable to raise the rent but this is part of doing business. Set the tone now in dealing with your new tenants by being their landlord, not their buddy or another neighbor next door. Send them an introductory letter explaining you are their new landlord. The letter should outline house rules, list your contact information, how and when to pay rent and how they can submit repair requests, etc. Send another notice regarding the rent increase. Since the water is shared by you and the tenant, include their water portion in the new rent. Give them their legal notice to sign the new lease with the new rent. If they are on a month to month, you may want to first consider keeping it that way - you don't know what kind of tenants they are until after you move in and it is possible to make changes that do not require a tenant's consent with a rental agreement. Don't make it your concern that the increase will set them back too much. They will check around the area and discover even with the new rent, they're probably still getting a good deal and stay because it is often more expensive to move than pay a rent increase.
Good luck and congrats on your new purchase!