Duplex with common-utilities ?

9 Replies

Let's start by assuming that I have a duplex with utilities which cannot be separated.  So separating the utilities is not an option in this case.

How can I handle the utility costs?

I can add secondary meters and then calculate each tenant's portion:  and then privately bill one tenant and pay the other tenant that amount.

I can keep the utilities in my name and include the utilities in the rent amount.

Which brings up another point:  in the secondary-meters scenario one tenant or the other would obviously have the utilities in their name.  OK;  so what happens if that tenant moves out first? <g>

What suggestions do you have?

What would you do if presented with this situation?

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I have a duplex with shared water. But separate electric. In our area, the electric can be put in the tenants name but the water must stay in the owners name. I just figure an average amount and include that into the rent. Makes it easy. Tenants haven't abused water usage. Even if the water is metered separately, since it has to stay in owners name, I would have to pay the bill then bill the tenant separate from the rent.

I haven't looked into sub metering, sorry.

@Stephen S. - I have a duplex that didn't have separate meters for Electric, so I added a separate meter on one side of the duplex near the breaker panel for that duplex and then take a reading for that unit each month. I kept the Electric in my name, then when the Bill comes in, I simply subtract off the Sub-metered usage from the bill and then can bill each tenant for their usage. I used a standard meter can that I purchased from Home Depot and then bought a Digital WattHour meter (about $25) from a Seller on Ebay. 

Originally posted by @Stephen S. :

Let's start by assuming that I have a duplex with utilities which cannot be separated.  So separating the utilities is not an option in this case.

How can I handle the utility costs?

I can add secondary meters and then calculate each tenant's portion:  and then privately bill one tenant and pay the other tenant that amount.

I can keep the utilities in my name and include the utilities in the rent amount.

Which brings up another point:  in the secondary-meters scenario one tenant or the other would obviously have the utilities in their name.  OK;  so what happens if that tenant moves out first? <g>

What suggestions do you have?

What would you do if presented with this situation?

.  

 Is this poodlehead from h talk 

OK;  I have another question - 

What do you think of this idea?

I install sub-meters very close to the original meters.  All in clear view.  Then I get both tenants to read both meters and send (email) me the readings.  This as a way to keep everyone honest.

Is there a flaw in that plan?

Can you think of a better plan?








Originally posted by @Matthew Paul :

Sub meter and do the math 

Then you would need to find tenants that could read ,  hard enough to find them with jobs .

It could work , but you would have to go and verify the numbers to make sure they read them right .

My thought is that if both tenants read the meters and then supply me with the readings neither could state the readings falsely without their deception immediately being discovered.  

Put a camera on them or see if there is a remote readable meter. Not sure how reliable tenants will be on reading the meter.

I have a 6-plex with shared water, electricity, hot water boiler, and heat. I build the rent rate to include them. I think tenant will understand the rate. The one that lives there now prefer pay one bill that included everything. 

MA does not have rent rate cap, and I put all of them on month-month. Overtime, it is easy to predict who is the one that is not frugal. When something is not going well, I would identify the trouble maker. I either kick them out or raise the rent so high that until it is not affordable for them to stay. 

I charge extra if they have window AC (in my lease). For heat, you can add thermostat that only max out at 68 or 75 degree. 

I only have one system to worry about. Make sure you have reserve in place. 

If the hot water or heat fail, you can send all of them to a motel or reduce rent ... etc.