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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Steve Masters

7:28 AM, 5th November 2014, About 8 years ago

Hadn't thought of internet only wall socket, great idea Robert.

Do you have a single whole house room thermostat in the hall of each house or one in each room?

What temperature or temperature profile have you set? Too high and it costs you in gas, too low and it costs you in electric because tenants plug in heaters! My local authority mandate at least 19C.

Arran Pritchard

13:34 PM, 5th November 2014, About 8 years ago

Use card meters for electric in each bedroom, the tenants pay for the electric they use in their own room.

Install a 750 watt wall panel heater in each bedroom, tenants can use this as an alternate source of heat when it gets a bit chilly.

Set the heating temperature to 18c.

This setup is usually accepted by the LA.

Robert M

13:45 PM, 5th November 2014, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Steve Masters" at "05/11/2014 - 07:28":

Hi Steve

At present I only have a single thermostat for the whole house, but I have discussed the option of individual room thermostats for each letting room but the cost is prohibitive at present. I set the thermostats at 20.5 degrees. At present they come on from 6am to 11am, then again from 3.30pm to 11.30pm, though of course I will vary this as it gets colder or when Spring/Summer return.

Each room has a TRV on the radiator. The occupancy agreement prohibits bringing in and using an electric heater, but of course residents will ignore this!

Robert M

13:48 PM, 5th November 2014, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Arran Pritchard" at "05/11/2014 - 13:34":

I have looked into this option, but the retrospective installation of the individual room (sub) consumer units and the purchase and installation of individual meters make the return on investment not worthwhile. However, if doing a re-wire anyway, then it would make sense to do this as it would not be too much extra work (cost) at that time.

Arran Pritchard

13:54 PM, 5th November 2014, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Robert Mellors" at "05/11/2014 - 13:48":

I have this issue with one property, currently its wired as a whole instead of individual rooms.

I cost the total amount of electric used and divide by the number of rooms, add this to the their bill.

I find that the electric consumption per room is higher when the tenants cannot be billed for their own consumption.

Robert M

14:04 PM, 5th November 2014, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Arran Pritchard" at "05/11/2014 - 13:54":

The cost to change a whole house system into an individual room system is quite a big chunk of money, but simply adding more charges to residents' debts does not help much as when they are on benefits then you cannot get this back from them. Nothing to stop you charging it to their accounts, and asking them to pay, but you can't get blood out of a stone, as they say. So it then usually falls on the landlord to pay the increased utility usage, with little or no chance of recouping this from the resident.

Arran Pritchard

14:11 PM, 5th November 2014, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Robert Mellors" at "05/11/2014 - 14:04":

from your advice I implemented in my business.

Once 4 weeks gross rent arrears has accrued ( as per my LA ) payment for on going service charges ( including electric ) + £3.65 towards arrears is deducted from income support and paid direct to landlord.

Robert M

14:55 PM, 5th November 2014, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Arran Pritchard" at "05/11/2014 - 14:11":

If you do it by way of an increase in ongoing weekly service charge then you may get it by direct deduction from their benefits, so for landlords who implement the DWP direct deductions from benefits, then yes you do have a chance of getting it back.

However, for the house you have where you simply apportion the extra electricity usage, then I guess you need a clause in your occupancy agreements allowing this and the tenant agreeing to this, so that you can justify to the DWP (or anyone else) that this is a genuine service charge that the tenant has agreed to. Also, as the amount will vary from one bill to another, it may be difficult to justify a flat rate increase in ongoing weekly service charges to cover the higher usage on the last bill.

If, on the other hand, you simply add it as a debt that the tenant owes you (i.e. increased service charge arrears, but no increase in ongoing service charges), then you would only get this repaid at £3.65 pw and if tenant already has rent arrears then it may take a very long time before you start recouping this extra electricity bill debt.

Landlord Trevor Mason

21:06 PM, 9th November 2014, About 8 years ago

Thanks Robert for information mentioned.

I actually have Utility Warehouse for electric and gas. Did look into the broadband but ended up going with virgin in the end £26 per month so majority in that price bracket.

I have very same issue with tenants drying clothes on radiators with windows open if only all tenants where qualified with common sense ha be less problems.

Having the internet done tomorrow although have'nt a clue how he putting it in reach of the boiler which in located in the kitchen.For the Landlord Plus Thermostat ,needs be close believe for the ethernet socket.

Has anyone used a Lead Extension in conjunction with internet thermostat in any way?. As my layout of the property is difficult not so user friendly. In perfect world I'd get the internet installed at same time the gas engineer was ther but I can't. cheers.

Landlord Trevor Mason

21:16 PM, 9th November 2014, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Landlord Trevor Mason" at "09/11/2014 - 21:06":

Meant has anyone used "Ethernet Lead Extension Cable" in some way for Lanldord Plus Internet thanks.

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