Heating cost control in HMO’s

Heating cost control in HMO’s

19:00 PM, 14th May 2014, About 9 years ago 175

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I would greatly welcome the advice of other members on how to effectively manage heating costs. I have 2 HMO properties and rents include; water, gas, electric and broadband. Heating cost control in HMO's

Over the past 12 months the electric and gas bills seem to have rocketed. I have checked and the tenants are not growing weed but I suspect that they are keeping the heating on 24/7 and opening a window when it gets too hot.

I know there are products for this out there but don’t have experience of how they work.

Are there tried and tested ways of controlling a reasonable temperature and locking down the thermostat or being able to monitor it remotely?


Mark Hartell


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Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

19:10 PM, 14th May 2014, About 9 years ago

Hi Mark

During his first year at Greenwich University my stepson stayed in Halls. The properties were divided into four flats with shared facilities, each with their own meters for utilities. Rents were inclusive of utilities.

Students were given a great incentive to "Go Green" by the Uni and also to respect the property. They were given a budget use for Utility units and a promise that if they used less than the budget they would receive a refund to share amongst them based on a set formula.

It worked better than I'd have ever anticipated, so much so that my stepson even turns off lights at home these days, such was the effectiveness of this conditioning!

Each student gave the others a rollocking if they left lights on or didn't turn radiators down in their rooms etc. when they were not around. They even removed two of the three bulbs in the three way kitchen spotlight. They figured out they could shine the one bulb onto the cooker whilst cooking and then turn it to point to the table whilst eating LOL

There was a happy ending too - each of the students sharing with my stepson got a refund of £8.63 at the end of the year. They celebrated with a slap up meal at their local Subway and even had enough money left over to buy a can of cheap cider and get the bus home 😉


Robert M

19:17 PM, 14th May 2014, About 9 years ago

£8.63 a year does not sound like much of an incentive!

Joe Bloggs

19:21 PM, 14th May 2014, About 9 years ago

thats great. wish my boys were as motivated.

Robert M

19:27 PM, 14th May 2014, About 9 years ago

There are wired and non-wired tamper-proof room thermostats available, but they are not completely tamper-proof, they just make it a bit more difficult for the tenants to change the heating settings.

There is also the Hive remote control device which allows you to control the heating via your mobile phone, but it can be overrided by the controls in the property so it is not tamper-proof. Thus, you would have to be constantly checking and adjusting the settings. It is also quite expensive to buy.

If your tenants are DSS tenants then you can separate this cost as a "service charge" and get it deducted from the tenant's benefits, so hopefully you don't end up out of pocket, but that won't encourage them to turn down the heating.

You could reduce the size of their radiators so that if they do put them on full blast there is still less heat coming out and being wasted.

For lighting in hallways etc, you could use the time delay switches so that they switch themselves off when not in use. Or you could use lighting that only comes on when there is movement.

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

19:30 PM, 14th May 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Robert Mellors" at "14/05/2014 - 19:17":

It was to them, that's what matters. Maybe it was the "Go Green" posters with the little green from saying save money, save the planet that did it?

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

19:34 PM, 14th May 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Robert Mellors" at "14/05/2014 - 19:27":

That lighting that is activated with movement is a nightmare. I had it in our ensure bathroom but it kept switching off when I was in the bath. I'd then have to flap around in the hope of being able to deactivate the sensor.

Sorry to implant that image at tea time LOL

Robert M

19:35 PM, 14th May 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "14/05/2014 - 19:30":

If the posters work then use them....... anything that can stop the wastage.

I have this problem all the time in my HMOs, but my residents are almost all DSS so I just get it deducted from their benefits and hope the amount covers the bills!

I think you can also get individual meters, so the resident has to pay for the gas used to heat their own room, but I can't see how this would work in a standard shared house type HMO, and of course it does not stop them turning up the heat in the communal rooms.

Robert M

19:36 PM, 14th May 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "14/05/2014 - 19:34":

But this type of lighting may be okay for stairs and hallways, just not for other rooms (inc' bathrooms).

Linda Price

22:15 PM, 14th May 2014, About 9 years ago

We have a clause in our contracts which states that the utilities included in their rent come to a set amount each month.. Anything over this amount is charged on top. We take meter readings each month and inform them If they are going over the limit. It seems to work for us.

Chris Amis

22:21 PM, 14th May 2014, About 9 years ago

Electric panel heaters and card meters makes t their problem, your problem is supplying cards at 3 am.

Maybe LED lighting would be so cheap to run it would not matter if it was always on.

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