Stephen Henesy: Why Helpthemove can solve a landlord’s utility billing issues

Stephen Henesy: Why Helpthemove can solve a landlord’s utility billing issues

0:01 AM, 2nd May 2023, About 12 months ago

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If you are a landlord, agent or property manager looking to centralise and automate utility notifications to the council, water and energy suppliers when a tenancy change takes place, then Helpthemove could be for you.

Founded by Stephen Henesy in 2014, it is an online platform to effectively manage a property portfolio and help reduce void turnaround times by 20-50%.

The innovative software is simple to navigate and free, saving users valuable time and resources.

Also, the software equips new tenants with access to Helpthemove’ bespoke online platform, Love Resident, which is designed to support their move.

‘Pain point when closing off the accounts’

Stephen told Property118: “There’s a pain point when closing off the accounts with the council, water and energy and setting them up in the new place.

“It’s a headache. It’s an admin chore and no one likes doing it.

“Put yourself in an agent’s shoes, and they’re doing this day in and day out for all the properties they manage.”

He added: “The most efficient agents are doing this task by email, and they won’t know which colleagues have done what previously should they leave.

“Do you know who sent that email to the council? What were the details? If they ever get queried on it, it’s difficult to find – and that’s the problem that we’re addressing.”

Streamline that task of switching details of tenants

The platform will automate and streamline the task of switching details of tenants with councils and utility providers in about 30 seconds.

The swift completion makes it an interesting proposition for agents and portfolio landlords – Stephen says the system hasn’t been set up for landlords with one or two properties.

The firm also offers smart meter rollout programmes in partnership with their chosen energy supplier, to support agents and landlords to manage their housing stock easily and economically.

There are now more than 1,000 clients using the platform for more than one million properties nationwide and it is setting the standard for switching utility services in tenanted properties.

Inefficiencies of admin processes undertaken by property owners

Helpthemove started after Stephen became aware of the commercial landscape of the energy market and the inefficiencies of admin processes undertaken by property owners, managers and agencies.

Stephen says that after the system receives notification of a tenant moving out, their account is closed off – and the utilities will be transferred into the landlord’s name.

This means the void period is being managed and no bills will be sent to the property until the new tenant moves in.

He says: “The landlords aren’t overpaying, and the agents aren’t overpaying, and we can redirect those void bills to either the landlord’s address if it’s the landlord who pays direct and they prefer that route, or we can send it to the agent.

“So, if you think about an agent today who isn’t utilising our service, they could potentially have multiple properties and multiple account numbers and different bills they’ve got to pay.

“It’s very clunky because they’ve got to log into the various different energy company’s platforms to pay those individual bills.

“We’ve got a digital bill solution, so they pay one bank account.”

£79.5 million is wasted every year on void energy bills

Helpthemove highlights that £79.5 million is wasted every year on void energy bills on 500,000 unoccupied homes around the country.

With typical turnaround times that can vary from six to 90 days, these delays cause landlords and housing providers to incur additional costs from void energy bills to loss of rent.

However, even when rental properties are empty and there is no energy being used, there are various standing charges incurred.

They average between 10p and 80p per day for electricity, and from 5p to 60p per day for gas, averaging out to £77 annually for electricity and £82 for gas.

For those landlords, agents or social housing providers who don’t provide an accurate meter reading, they will be hit with an estimated energy bill based on usage for the past year.

Not obligated to stay with a preferred energy supplier

Stephen highlights that a new tenant is not obligated to stay with the platform’s preferred energy supplier, though they will inherit the supplier when they move in.

They can switch providers, with the ‘Love Resident’ system helping to educate the incoming tenant about the bills they will have to pay and how much they are likely to cost.

Stephen says that for tenants who haven’t rented a home before, including international students, they may have no idea about how to arrange and pay for utility supplies.

The platform is designed to save time and is free to use because of the firm’s partnership with energy firm OVO – agents and portfolio landlords also earn a commission too.

For more information about Helpthemove, visit the website.

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