Apartment residents expect fairness when it comes to the utility bills they pay. When utilities are included in the rent, deciding how much to charge tenants can be tricky. Add to that the fact that once a lease agreement is signed, a landlord can’t make changes just because he or she underestimated how much utilities would cost. A lease agreement is usually binding until the lease expires.
It is common to use a master-meter to measure electric, water and gas usage in multi-family housing complexes, including apartment buildings, condominiums and mobile home parks. Each tenant may be billed based on the size of the unit and the number of occupants. However, this is not always the most reliable or equitable means of analyzing utility usage.
Installing a Submeter Makes Billing Practices Fair
Installing submeters can solve utility billing problems in multi-unit housing communities. Submetering has many benefits including:
* Fairness in utility billing
* Lower utility costs (energy efficiency)
* Energy conservation
A submeter measures the utilities that each unit uses, which means that the property owner can bill a resident for the amount he or she uses rather than overcharging or undercharging.
Submetering Helps with Energy Efficiency
Submetering also helps a property owner determine when renovations may be needed to make a unit more energy efficient. For example, if a unit particular building or unit is older and the bills are extraordinarily high, this may point to the need for additional insulation to increase energy efficiency.
Submetering Encourages Conservation
In addition to being a fair means of billing residents for utilities, submetering is a way to encourage conservation. When tenants know that they will be fully responsible for the utilities they use, they are more likely to pay attention to utility usage.
In a situation where water use increases suddenly, there could be a leak. Submetering would alert a property owner that something unusual is going on, making it likely that the problem would be investigated and repaired quickly, reducing waste and utility costs.
If you are a multi-unit property owner who is still using the master meter method of determining your tenants’ utility costs, consider installing submeters. Submeters can save money for you and your tenants.
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