… That is the question.
Most of our student tenants have opted for the bills inclusive option this year.
For them this means peace of mind that they don`t have to worry about any missed bills which might be sitting somewhere in a corner collecting dust and penalty charges. It also means they don`t have to deal with the initial stress of registering the bills and opening new utility accounts.
Since the introduction of purpose-built student accommodation it is increasingly becoming the norm for students who go into privately rented accommodation in their 2nd and 3rd year to continuously opt for the convenience of the bills inclusive package.
What does this mean for you as a landlord?
No doubt you might feel some sort of anxiety on some level knowing tenants have ‘unlimited’ access to their utilities and you feel nervous that they might take advantage of this.
You probably wonder what you could possibly do about it considering that almost all landlords now offer a bills inclusive option and you want to ensure your property stays competitive in the marketplace?
For ease of mind , our tenancy agreements include a clause stipulating the a cap rate. If this cap rate is surpassed by the tenants usage then they become liable for any outstanding monies which you can deduct from the deposit.
For the letting season 2016-2017 we will also increase the cost of the bills inclusive option (depending on size of the property) . We understand that this is an additional service you as a landlord offer, which costs you time, energy and money to initially set up the and then continuously monitor the accounts, which involves spending long waiting times on the phones to the utility companies whilst pulling your hair out. You deserve an additional compensation for this.
Additionally, some utility companies are now offering what is called a Smart Meter . One company describes them as follows:
‘Smart meters are gas and electricity meters a bit like those you have now, but the big difference is the way they work. They`ll automatically send us your meter readings, so you don`t have to. Smart meters also come with a smart energy monitor that shows you how much energy you`re using in pounds and pence, instantly. And you`ll be able to log on to our interactive online tool for a breakdown of your usage. We are trialling smart meters for Pay As You Go customers. With Smart Pay As You Go, you can top up anywhere using our App, online or over the phone and view your balance on your handy smart energy monitor.’
We are hoping that the trend of Smart Meters will catch on and that sooner or later all utility companies will provide these as they are a great tool for both landlords and tenants, who are often simply oblivious to their usage, to keep on top of the bills.
We hope you found this little read helpful and as always, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us.
The Student Haus Team