All bills included with an asterisk on the electricity?

by Readers Question

13:58 PM, 11th March 2019
About A week ago

All bills included with an asterisk on the electricity?

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All bills included with an asterisk on the electricity?

We are planning to renovate a 2 bedroom flat with all electric heating (possible wall heaters in each room) and an electric hot water system. Each en-suite would have electric showers so a hot water system would only be required for the taps in the en-suites and kitchen sink.

Could anyone advise us on the best all electric system for the flat.

As we will rent to working professionals off peak storage heating will not be useful as the flat will be empty during the weekdays. If each room has a heater the tenant will be able to access the level of heating they require, and hopefully switch it off when not using it!

This leads to the second question:

If we have a SMART electric meter we would top it up remotely every month with a generous online payment.

Then, to encourage an ‘eco friendly’ environment, as well as protect our purse, if the electricity ran low, through overuse, the tenants would have to top it up themselves.

So, the question is, if we offer ‘all bills included’, with an asterisk on the ‘electricity’ element and provide clear details on the actual lease document, would this be ok?

There will then be the dilemma for the tenant who didn’t overuse the electricity to contribute to the cost of topping it up, but that should not happen too often.

Or are we hoping for too much?

Many Thanks



Comments

Martin Roberts

9:42 AM, 12th March 2019
About A week ago

I can't see any advantage for this.

If it's included they have no incentive to be economic and will be on the phone to you when it runs out, this could finish up in court.

Are you planing to rent the rooms seperately? If not the couple can sort power us between themselves, if 'yes' there will definately be friction between each tenant and yourself when you ask them to top up.

As for Council Tax, let the tennant/s pay it, otherwise they will think they are paying you a very high rent and likely feel aggrieved.

Water? Again metered so let them pay for what they use and benefit from the saving if they're frugal.

rob david

10:09 AM, 12th March 2019
About A week ago

We had horrendous problems in allocating individuals usage in our units, tenant runaway consumption with the predictable payment 'over-runs' was an eternal nightmare. If each of your room's are already 'spured' installation won't be a problem, if you are not at the build stage or you have already decorated it's more difficult but buylec sorted it for us. Good luck.

Graham Bowcock

10:26 AM, 12th March 2019
About A week ago

If you're planning to let the flat as one unit then do not get involved in the electricity cost at all. You will gain nothing but hassle and if the tenants drift on their rent, you will be out of pocket.

It is never ideal to include any utilities or other charges as part of rent unless there is absolutely no other way to sort them out.

If you're letting the rooms out separately then you may have to find some way to manage the electricity cost, but be prepared to absorb the bills!

I know you have asked for advice about systems, but you do need to be careful. Electric systems are getting much better, especially if the property is not large, but you do need to make sure that what you fit is effective. I have some small, modern, houses with no boilers but they have traditional hot water tanks and immersion heaters - these work fine and tenants like them; however, I have seen smaller "instant" boilers in other properties and these rarely provide adequate supplies for modern living.

Graham

silversurfer2017

12:29 PM, 12th March 2019
About A week ago

Small capacity hot water tank gravity fed by cold water tank positioned as high as possible in the flat should suffice. The flow rate will not be great but that probably won't be a problem. Although these hot water tanks come already with a foam insulation surrounding the tank I would highly recommend spending another £10 from Screwfix and buy an additional fibreglass jacket to put around it as well. The tank needs to be kept at minimum of 60 degrees centigrade to negate any problem with Legionaires disease. Water at 60 degrees centigrade will burn you if you put your hand under the tap. You can easily have a blending/mixing valve fitted close to the tank, which mixes the outgoing hot water with cold water and set the temperature for example in the 40-45 degree range. Hot enough for washing up but no risk of scalding.

Jo Westlake

17:12 PM, 12th March 2019
About A week ago

I've used a tankless undersink instant hot water heater for a wash basin and it's quite impressive (better than the ugly traditional over sink water heaters). Reasonable flow of hot water more than sufficient for hand washing. It cost about £25. My plumber was a bit skeptical as he hadn't fitted one before but it's been in about 9 months now totally trouble free. Very compact, very neat, hidden in vanity unit and uses standard mixer tap. More powerful kitchen ones are readily available.
If the property doesn't have a bath and the only bathing provision is electric showers there really isn't a need for a tank of stored hot water. Especially for a property occupied by just 2 professionals.

The cost and viability of electric heating depends largely on how well the property is insulated and ventilated. I haven't got any of the latest generation of electric heaters but the previous generation of heaters with timers and thermostats have worked well in bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens. One of my mainly electric properties has a storage heater in the hall which stops the fabric of the building getting too cold, the other has a wood burner. The biggest problem I can see would be condensation and mold if the property is heated insufficiently or erratically.
As long as you have a realistic expectation of running costs an all electric system can be fine. Add up how much you think a normal property would cost for gas, electric, gas safety inspections, boiler maintenance and boiler replacement every 12 years. A well insulated electrically heated property is probably going to cost about the same or slightly less if your tenants engage with the system. That's assuming you install good quality heaters with timers, thermostats, etc.

I prefer tenancies that are inclusive of bills and have experienced very little abuse or over usage in the last 20 years. I state there is a fair usage policy of £xxxx or xxxxx kilowatts. No one has ever gone over by enough for me to worry about. I've never tried it with only 2 tenants though. It could make the rent look very expensive.

Highland Lass McG

19:08 PM, 12th March 2019
About A week ago

Hi
Many thanks to everyone for your advice so far. It has given us plenty to think about.
We'll investigate the heating and hot water systems further.


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