@Tim W. I am currently underwriting small to mid apartments around Edgewater and a few other Cleveland neighborhoods. I was asking the same question to agents and other investors during our trip to Cleveland this last weekend. Every investor I asked said no one else charges, therefore the market wouldn’t support it. I had an agent say he does it in his rentals in Ohio City, but perhaps he just wanted to me to buy a property. It wouldn’t be the first time an agent told me whatever it took to try to hook me into a purchase. Anywho, my next step is to speak with some local property managers and see what they think the market will bear. In Tacoma where we have 2 apartment complexes, utility fees are fairly standard so there is no problem putting them in place. I would be Leary if hiring a company to put RUBS in place if I don’t feel confident that tenants will pay it. What kind of fee structure does the company have?
Also, I did search dozens of listings on Craigslist and apartments.com and couldn’t find any that advertised any additional charge for utilities.
If I find out any useful information, I will share it here.
Best of luck!