New investor here!
Currently I am house hacking a triplex. The triplex has one thermostat for all 3 units. Is there an easy way to separate the heat for tenant responsibility? Is there a way for me to avoid taking on that expense?
You could implement a RUBS program (Ratio Utility Billing System). It's usually designed for larger apartment communities with shared utilities, but I suppose you could implement it as well. Would just need to find a way to legally put it in the lease.
@Salina Robbins , What type of heat delivery system? Forced air, steam radiators, hot water baseboard?
@Kevin Sobilo Thanks for taking the time to respond. I have hot water radiator heaters.
@Neil Henderson Thanks so much, I will look into this.
@Salina Robbins , depending on how the pipes are run to each unit it MAY be possible to separate the system into more zones and provide more thermostats. Not likely a simple or cheap solution.
I think installing something like this on radiators where tenants want more control over the temp would help. I don't think these will provide a perfect solution, but if a room is typically warm or cold, I think it could adjust it a little so that it will be closer to the comfort zone.
@Kevin Sobilo thanks so much! I will look into this.
If you divide the heating bill among the tenants without giving them a way to control all the usage they pay for, it may create friction among the tenants.
This reminds me of the house I rented long ago in college in Missouri. My roommate and I, on the second floor, paid 35% of the bill, as did the first-floor tenants, and the basement tenants paid 30%. We got tired of the tenants on the first floor leaving windows open while the heat was on. We conspired with the engineering students in the basement to install a replacement thermostat on the second floor. Our engineering friends disconnected the regular thermostat on the first floor and connected our new one, so the open windows no longer cranked up the furnace. Our problem was solved until the landlord somehow found out. :)
Are the electric meters seperate? Maybe you can look into electric heating options for their unit?
Bite the bullet and separate the heat. 3 boilers, 3 thermostats. You will decrease the operating expenses and increase the property value.
@Max T. Hi Max, I have similar problem as the original poster. I just bought a two family with a shared gas metering system. I have steam radiators and there is only one thermostat in the bottom unit. I am considering getting a separate boiler but am wondering if installing a mini split system would be more cost effective since electricity seems to be separate?
@Salina Robbins if you currently have different zone different thermostats are possible. If you do that using RUBs would be better because increase use gives them an increased bill. whether you can charge them for heat if its not under their control depends on your state.
@Cassia G. a minisplit system depends on the size of the unit and your location but if AC is something tenants want in your area it could be a good option. Not sure if you could put the bottom on the existing furnace though.
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