Heating cost control in HMO’s

Heating cost control in HMO’s

19:00 PM, 14th May 2014, About 8 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?

Thanks

Mark Hartell

 



Comments

by Industry Observer

10:37 AM, 3rd June 2014, About 8 years ago

Russell the issue here isn't how to do it, it is whether it is legal to do it, or if it is how far you can go.

This problem only affects shared properties, as in any standard, 'normal' letting where "the Tenant" is legally one entity it will not apply as they will be liable for the utility costs. This would apply to sharers as well if on one agreement, even if in HMOs.

Unless for some reason the landlord is volunteering to pay for the utilities in which case there is even less of an argument in support of him controlling how much the tenants use, even if he is paying for it, in situations where he doesn't need to.

This apporionment problem really only exists in multiple occupier scenarios where not of them knows each other from Adam (if he is there!) and there is only one supply/meter and therefore the landlord has to have the bill.

I still think if the Landlord controlled the temperature, even at a nice even 21C, and there was a health problem at the property through it being too hot or too cold then the landlord is going to face interesting questions.

What happens for example with controlled systems the tenants cannot change if the system goes wrong?

by Mark Alexander

10:47 AM, 3rd June 2014, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "russell armstrong" at "03/06/2014 - 09:12":

Hi Russell and welcome to Property118.

Please feel free to continue to educate us. If it turns into a sales pitch I will be referring you to our sponsors rules though so on the basis that forewarned is forearmed please see >>> http://www.property118.com/business-sponsorship/ 🙂
.

by Mark Alexander

10:51 AM, 3rd June 2014, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Industry Observer " at "03/06/2014 - 10:37":

I disagree IO, please read Mark Hartel's post which started this thread (top of page). The issues of law are thread drift, not the "how to" and sharing of best practice as that was the basis of the original question.
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by Industry Observer

10:55 AM, 3rd June 2014, About 8 years ago

Mark

You can have all the systems and methods you like, down to the Landlord going to the property each night to turn the thermostat down.

But the question is whether what the landlord wants for whatever possibly understandable reasons, is lawful. Which going each night of course would not be.

Out of all the posts I have read on this, and I accept at 9 pages I have not read them all, Romain's seem to me by far the moost reloevant in terms of what the landlord is lawfully able to do and which will generate least questions from other parties such as EHO etc.

by Steve Masters

10:59 AM, 3rd June 2014, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Industry Observer " at "03/06/2014 - 10:37":

My local council is Barnet, their HMO standards states that the heating system must be controllable by the tenant and must be capable of maintaining a minimum temperature of 19C at any time of the day.

So, if the landlord regulates the system to work within the the range of say 5C frost setting and 20C maximum 24-7 and allows the tenants to control the temperature in between, then this should satisfy.

I do not think that a landlord would be considered at fault if he capped the maximum and minimum limits at an acceptable level so long as the tenant has the ability to control the temperature within that range.

What would not be acceptable is to shut off the heating at any point in the day and allowing the temperature to fall below the acceptable limit.

I have just spoken to Inspire about their Landlords Room Thermostat and the "Plus" version allows for a minimum default temperature to be set. The two programs can be set to boost the temperature during peak times.

This seems to satisfy HMO regulations of minimum temperature and tenant control-ability (within the landlords range) and economic comfort levels at peak times helping to reduce the use of electric heaters and keeping bills down.

by Steve Masters

13:47 PM, 3rd June 2014, About 8 years ago

And off course always be on the cheapest tariff.
I use Money Saving Expert - Cheap Energy Club.
Enter your details and it will alert you via email when a worthwhile switch is available.
Got an email this morning suggesting I could save £300 by switching to new supplier ExtraEnergy (which I have just done)

100% legal 😉

by Steve Masters

13:53 PM, 3rd June 2014, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ian Ringrose" at "02/06/2014 - 15:19":

Ian wrote: If the tenants want a lot more heat, they just need to turn off the radiator in the hallway.

Then install a Locking and Limiting TRV on the hall radiator.

by Ian Ringrose

13:57 PM, 3rd June 2014, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Steve Masters" at "03/06/2014 - 13:53":

Steve,

Don’t your tenants know how to turn down a lockshield valve with a spanner, or just cover the hallway radiator with a blanket?

by Steve Masters

14:03 PM, 3rd June 2014, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "russell armstrong" at "03/06/2014 - 09:12":

Thank you Russel for a very in depth post.

The point about Weather Compensating interests me.

I considered the Vaillant VRC470 WCO as I have a Vaillant boiler. Vaillant said that it would need to replace the existing room thermostat & controller and it was not tamper proof, so I dismissed it.

Is there a WCO that just controls the boiler flow temp so that I can continue to use my tamper proof room thermostat and controller.

by Steve Masters

14:06 PM, 3rd June 2014, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ian Ringrose" at "03/06/2014 - 13:57":

Ian said: Don’t your tenants know how to turn down a lockshield valve with a spanner, or just cover the hallway radiator with a blanket?

Yes, but that would be would be a lot harder than just turning down a normal TRV and much more likely to be considered Tampering.


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