RUBS in Cleveland, OH

2 Replies

I own a 10 unit apartment in Lakewood, OH. Currently, I pay for all of the water expenses associated with this building. I’m interested in moving some of those expenses to the tenants. The units are not submetered. I’ve stumbled across a RUBS program to charge tenants a more accurate estimate of the water they use instead of a flat fee added to their rent. Can anyone share their experience with RUBS programs in the Cleveland, OH area? Things to consider? Recommended vendors? Thanks, Tim

@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!

@James Lusk Thanks for your quick response. I believe you have a great point. My elicited experience tells me to keep things at status quo for now and monitor the rental market. I look forward to any updates you provide.