Electric meters for tenants – card pre-pay or smart?

by Readers Question

9:24 AM, 21st July 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Electric meters for tenants – card pre-pay or smart?

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Electric meters for tenants – card pre-pay or smart?

I’m renovating a five-bed, three-story flat into three separate flats (a floor each).

I now need to determine what to fit in each flat:

Prepay card meter – tenants know how much they have, top-ups when need to, better for budgeting, and as a Landlord no standing charges between tenancies

Normal/smart billing meters – tenants can shop around for supplier of choice, may get better rates, but downside between tenancies as Landlord liable for standing charges. Also, there are issues switching companies when a certain smart meter is fitted.

Is there anything else I need to consider?

Many thanks

Reluctant



Comments

Puzzler

10:04 AM, 21st July 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Since the utilities are the tenant's responsibility, a good tenant won't want to pay the higher price of energy from a prepay meter.

The Forever Tenant

10:05 AM, 21st July 2020
About 2 weeks ago

As a tenant, I can confirm that I hate prepay meters. I want to be able to get the best rate I can for my electricity and gas.

Ray Davison

10:27 AM, 21st July 2020
About 2 weeks ago

There are still standing charges with prepay meters so a Landlord doesn't avoid those building up during a void.

The only reliability issues I have ever had have been with smart meters and they have been frequent so I would avoid those for as long as you can.

Ros poldermans

10:34 AM, 21st July 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Have you taken into consideration new distribution boards new mains to each floor 5 year inspection £90

Dylan Morris

11:06 AM, 21st July 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Don’t quote me but I think I’ve read somewhere that the new Mk11 type of meters were now available which can be used by any utility provider, so the fitting of a new meter each time supplier is changed is not now required.
(I wouldn’t fit a pre payment meter it will drive your tenants mad having to top it up all the time).

WP

11:49 AM, 21st July 2020
About 2 weeks ago

thanks for all your feedback. The issue I have is many (strike that out - I mean all) of my tenants stay less than 18 months on average (various reasons) so I also want to reduce the faff involved as much as possible too for myself between tenancies. The other option I have looked into is credit meters. If the tenant wants to move off pre-pay ones then any utility company will look at their credit rating and could offer them a credit one with better savings etc. I suppose that's and incentive if they want to move themselves off a pre-pay? Apparently a LL can't object to a meter change in this way, but only if the tenant does not replace it with the pre-pay one at the end of the tenancy. Anyone had any experience of this?

Jo Westlake

13:57 PM, 21st July 2020
About 2 weeks ago

It partly depends on your tenant profile. Do you let to people who can be bothered to engage with the whole utility switching thing or not? Are they OK with budgeting and direct debits? With a normal meter would they go with quarterly billing or monthly direct debit?

There's potential for hassle with either type of meter at tenant changeover time.

The real advantage with direct debits is that the bill is spread evenly throughout the year so there is more likelihood of the property being adequately heated in the winter. Either quarterly billing or prepay can cause real problems on that point.

Deborah Clare

17:04 PM, 21st July 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by WP at 21/07/2020 - 11:49
I had a tenant change the meters from prepay ones to credit ones. Then he stopped paying rent and all bills. Basically he lived at the property totally free for 6 months before leaving voluntarily when I explained that a section 8 was about to be served on him. The utility companies didn't chase me for the payments. I informed them that he had left and said I had no forwarding address and I didn't hear any more from them.

I have credit meters in my other properties and have never had any problems with them. I just inform the companies at the beginning and end of the tenancies, providing a forwarding address for the tenant if I have one.

Gunga Din

18:18 PM, 21st July 2020
About 2 weeks ago

I naively started out with all pre-pay meters, but on realising that I will never be stuck with a tenant's unpaid bill, I have gradually migrated to credit. And smart.

As regards no standing charge, last time I checked, unfortunately Utilita is the only option, and only then on condition I get smart meters. Ebico has moved away from NSC, a shame because they answered the 'phone fast and customer service was way above the numerous others I have been through over the years.

WP

19:13 PM, 21st July 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Gunga Din at 21/07/2020 - 18:18
that's bizzare I literally within the hour, just signed up with Ebico as they have NSC !

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