What utilities, if any, do you pay?

7 Replies

I am looking into a SFH in Tacoma, WA and I was wondering, what utilities do people pay for? My sister who invests in the Denver, CO area pays for water because she says that for her, the utility company can put a lien on the property if it is not paid. I would think any utility could do that.

Also, if the tenant does pay for all utilities, do you have access to the bills (since it would be in their names) for future renters?

Thank you!

My tenants pay their own electric and gas bill. I pay for the water since their is only 1 line/meter going into the building. This is standard for my area. Some companies do offer sub-metering but I have not looked into that yet.

Thank you Jarrett.  I would prefer to have tenants pay all utilities, but I can understand your water meter issue.

Have the tenants pay the utilities on a SFR, I would think. Tacoma utilities will put you on the account as the landlord, and you are notified if it goes delinquent and can remedy the situation.

Thank you Matt, that will help my analysis of properties immensely.  

Melissa, you are getting good advice.  If you want to know how much the unities will cost a future tenant, you can call the utility company and ask, but it is much better to tell prospective tenants "I encourage you to call the utility company, give the address, and see what you can find out about deposits and rates."  Our deposits vary more by tenant than property, and better to not give out bad information.

In the state of Washington, water and sewer are leinable.  We get copied on the first late invoice, but that doesn't always clue us in enough that there is an issue.  After getting stuck with a $600 water bill (about 3 months worth), we now try to include WSG in rent.  We put the unit on Craigslist at the market price, then in the application process offer them to add $130/month to rent to avoid a WSG deposit.  Most choose this option.  Then we can control it.  We track the amount paid vs. charged in order to raise rent or give a periodic refund, we intend for it to be a pass through and will subsidize a few dollars a month.

Our tenants pay for all the utilities at our SFR's and we do all bills paid at our complex. It's utilities aren't separatly metered so we have to do it that way. Plus we end up making about $25 more per unit than what others are getting in town for the same units that do not offer all bills paid. Some tenants love all bills paid.

My sfrs we pay sewer only since it is a fixed cost and pierce county sewer makes it a huge hastle to change the bill.  Water and electric are billed together in my "farm".  Sewer costs have been greatly increasing every year for the last several.  My educated guess is enviornmental regulation.  It is a pass through cost though as all units pay the same rate in my area.  Good luck.

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