10:43 AM, 27th June 2017, About 4 years ago
Many landlords are still using coin sub-meters to charge tenants for gas and electricity. These will not work after 15 October 2017 when old pound coins cease to be legal tender, and many landlords and agents might be tempted to remove the old meters to modify them. However, the legislation changed in October 2016 and it is now illegal for anybody to put in use a non-MID approved meter to measure electricity or gas consumption.
Non-MID sub-meters which are already in operation are legal if they are accurate, but reinstalling them after a modification or a repair is illegal. The fine is up to £5,000 and it would be difficult to conceal this illegal act from a disgruntled tenant.
MID approved gas and electricity meters can be identified by their specific markings, as required under the directive. These consist of the CE marking, the MID marking which is made up of the letter ‘M’ and then the year of manufacture (for example a meter manufactured in 2011 would have the following MID marking M11) and a four-digit code representing the notified body that approved and verified the meter. If the meter does not display these markings, it is not MID approved. Full information is available on the Government website, www.gov.uk/guidance/mid-approved-gas-and-electricity-meters.
In practice, only meters less than a few years old are going to be MID approved. The same will apply to old DigiCard meters.
Coin meters are not ideal. Tenants need a stash of coins which must be collected. They are mechanical and unreliable, notoriously easy to fiddle, and the older ones are likely to be inaccurate. And in all probability, will run slow as they age. Consequently, they will cost the landlord money.
There are arguably far better sub-metering systems now available than DigiCard and coin meters. For instance, Landlord Metering will provide smart PAYG sub-meters which can be topped up via the phone or the internet using a debit or credit card. There is even an auto top-up option and best of all it is free for landlords, with no lock-in and the ability to trial with just one meter.
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