Short-Term & Vacation Rental Discussions

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Courtney Murphy
  • SF East Bay
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Whose Name Should Utilities Be In??

Courtney Murphy
  • SF East Bay
Posted Sep 9 2022, 10:40

Hello,

I am wondering if there are any reasons for or against having the utilities in my name vs our property manager.

Thanks!

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Steven Wilson#1 New Member Introductions Contributor
  • Rental Property Investor
  • Columbus, OH
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Steven Wilson#1 New Member Introductions Contributor
  • Rental Property Investor
  • Columbus, OH
Replied Sep 9 2022, 10:42
Quote from @Courtney Murphy:

Hello,

I am wondering if there are any reasons for or against having the utilities in my name vs our property manager.

Thanks!


 I always make sure they are in the tenant's name. There should be no reason they are in your name and your property manager should deal with that. When I was personally managing I would call the utility companies and make sure they were out of my name. 

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Courtney Murphy
  • SF East Bay
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Courtney Murphy
  • SF East Bay
Replied Sep 9 2022, 10:44

Hello Steven,

Because it is a short term rental we will be paying the bills.

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Anthony Napier
  • Flipper
  • Boise, ID
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Anthony Napier
  • Flipper
  • Boise, ID
Replied Sep 9 2022, 10:51

Tenants should always be responsible for their use of utilities. In Springfield, Ohio owners are ultimately responsible for the water bills that tenants may not pay. I always request of the water department to forward a copy of all of my tenants' bills. In the alternative I have the tenant give me access to their online water bill account to verify bills are current. Either way, that saves me from a big water bill surprise!

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John Underwood#4 All Forums Contributor
  • Investor
  • Greer, SC
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John Underwood#4 All Forums Contributor
  • Investor
  • Greer, SC
Replied Sep 9 2022, 10:55

Your name.

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Paul Sandhu
  • Investor
  • The worst town to live in, KS
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Paul Sandhu
  • Investor
  • The worst town to live in, KS
Replied Sep 9 2022, 10:58

Your name.  How can you expect a short term rental tenant to put utilities in their name?  And when they leave, how are you going to clean it.  Ignore post 2 and 4.

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Billy Daniel
  • Rental Property Investor
  • Russellville, AR
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Billy Daniel
  • Rental Property Investor
  • Russellville, AR
Replied Sep 9 2022, 11:15

For an STR, they should probably be in your name.

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Jeffrey Albaum
  • Investor
  • Austin TX
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Jeffrey Albaum
  • Investor
  • Austin TX
Replied Sep 9 2022, 12:18

Hi @Courtney Murphy!

It can be either - if your property manager is cool with it it might be easier for you to not have to worry about paying the bill - they'll pay it and than show you how much it cost every month on your owner statement. The con of this option is that they might not be as pro-active as you might be if your water bill trends up or shoots up one month (indicative of a leak).

TLDR - either way works it just depends on how active/passive you want to be! Hope this is helpful!

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Leslie Anne Morris#5 Short-Term & Vacation Rental Discussions Contributor
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Smoky Mountains, TN
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Leslie Anne Morris#5 Short-Term & Vacation Rental Discussions Contributor
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Smoky Mountains, TN
Replied Sep 9 2022, 12:38

I own a property management company and I require utilities in owners name. Much easier this way if we part ways in the future. 

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Drew Sygit#5 All Forums Contributor
  • Property Manager
  • Birmingham, MI
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Drew Sygit#5 All Forums Contributor
  • Property Manager
  • Birmingham, MI
Replied Sep 9 2022, 14:22

@Courtney Murphy we're a property management company and require utilities to be in the owner's name, not ours - but, we have everything mailed to us or we have online access to their account, so we can manage and pay them.

We do NOT want to be financially liable for the bills as we've had to chase owners for funds in the past and it oftn ends relationships.

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Jonathan Hankins
  • Rental Property Investor
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Jonathan Hankins
  • Rental Property Investor
Replied Sep 9 2022, 22:14

I would definitely have them in your name. It's just easier that way. Hopefully you have found a good property management company - but more than likely you will have to change them at some point. That just adds a level of headache you don't need.

Just my 2 cent though :)

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Sergey A. Petrov
  • Real Estate Consultant
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Sergey A. Petrov
  • Real Estate Consultant
  • Seattle, WA
Replied Sep 9 2022, 22:23

Keep the account in your name but have the bills sent to your management company for payment and inclusion on your financials 

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Replied Sep 10 2022, 05:32

Probably easiest to have them in your name for the short term rental.  For my long term rentals where I have a PM, they have access to the account, so when the tenants turnover, both myself and the PM get a notice to let us know the new tenant has put it in their name and if there are problems with the tenants paying the bills.

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Nathan Gesner
  • Real Estate Broker
  • Cody, WY
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Nathan Gesner
  • Real Estate Broker
  • Cody, WY
ModeratorReplied Sep 10 2022, 05:35

It's unlikely the PM will put utilities in their name, but they may be willing to pay the bills on your behalf. See if you can keep utilities in your name but mail them to the PM for payment.

  • Property Manager Wyoming (#12599)

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Nancy Bachety
  • Rental Property Investor
  • Sag Harbor, NY
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Nancy Bachety
  • Rental Property Investor
  • Sag Harbor, NY
Replied Sep 11 2022, 17:40

STR so obviously not the guest (tenant). My only concern with PM paying them is an assurance they were paid so I opt to pay them myself, my credit card, (my rewards and protections), and keep it on autopay. I know it's paid and no services will ever be turned off or taxes unpaid.