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What utilities do you pay for? - Landlord Forum thread 221630

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What utilities do you pay for? by Dave (OH) on April 18, 2011 @13:41

I'm going to be renting a SFH for the first time. I was told by a friend who's been renting for years that he pays for water and garbage collection (and yard work in the summer) and the tenant pays for the rest, is this the norm? What typically works best and cause less headaches for landlords and tenants?
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Re: What utilities do you pay for? by eloisa (sc) on April 18, 2011 @13:50 [ Reply ]
I don't pay any utilities. However, I pay the yearly HOA fee... I don't HAVE to but I do.
My concern with paying bills like that is the fact that they don't control usage and then you get stuck with the bill.
Re: What utilities do you pay for? by Jake on April 18, 2011 @14:01 [ Reply ]
Do not pay for any utilities, not even water. Pay the garbage or it will start to accumulate at your rental. If you care about what the place looks like, pay for the yard work. Renters will not take care of a yard.
Re: What utilities do you pay for? by Anonymous (NY) on April 18, 2011 @14:16 [ Reply ]

We do the same as your friend. Almost all places around me pay water and garbage when the other utilities are not all inclusive. Since the water and garbage are city services, these must be stayed on top of. I was shocked to learn that the water authority can put a notice of foreclosure on your house for an outstanding bill; granted it usually has to be pretty behind but still... Would not want to leave that up to tenants. So essentially homeowners HAVE to be responsible for these 2 services.

If you want more control, raise the rent to include all util. and pay them all yourself. Some tenants actually like the fact that they are all inclusive, although this can sometimes turn into a squabble over amount of usage - especially heat.

Re: What utilities do you pay for? by Anonymous (CA) on April 18, 2011 @14:27 [ Reply ]
It's all negotiable. We throw in gardener and house cleaning services because we want to keep the property in good condition. We have the utilities in our name (and address), but bill the amount to the tenants. (We scan the bill and email it to the tenants.) We may also pay a portion of the water to keep the plants happy. (:
Re: What utilities do you pay for? by Jim I (MI) on April 18, 2011 @14:30 [ Reply ]
It depends. I do not have a sfh so the others advice is prob best.

However in multi units I pay the heat, water, trash, internet. My heat is one central furnace or boiler and I control of zones and temps to keep everyone comfy while not letting them adjust a thing.

Where the thermostat is... has no operable windows so if a dumb tenant opens their window in middle of winter(they will if you pay heat and they have control of t-stat) they only get themselves cold and do not affect furnace operation or other tenants.

I never pay electric. It can be abused year round; Summer time they go away for a week and leave AC on 24/7. Winter time they are a little cold so instead of asking me to turn up the heat they buy an elec heater. NEVER PAY ELECTRIC!

Pay the trash and enforce the placing of it into containers during the week, and putting it out once a week or as they say it will pile up and your place will stink to high hell not to mention rats and birds into it.

Yes pay the yard or do it your self and make sure it gets done. Renters dont do yards(80%) even if they say they will.

As far as internet, it is an advantage in my 2 college town. I am always full of 80% students, BUT in your SFH situation it would not be cost effective(unless you live next door and send a wireless signal over to the sfh)

Re: What utilities do you pay for? by Bryan (Ia) on April 18, 2011 @14:36 [ Reply ]
Since my city will not put water/sewer/trash in a T's name, I have it included the rent. I do lawn work to make sure it gets done and it gives me chance to see the property.
Re: What utilities do you pay for? by K (FL) on April 18, 2011 @14:37 [ Reply ]
Suckers. I've never had a landlord pay for my utilities in my life and I sure don't pay my tenant's utilities now.

If the economy ever picks up, and I'm actually getting the mortgage paid AND could even charge a bit more for it, I would add a yard service. Only because they will let me know if the tenant sneaks in a dog or starts destroying the place.

Re: What utilities do you pay for? by Katiekate (New York) on April 18, 2011 @15:23 [ Reply ]
I do not pay utilities.

I recently raised the rents to cover the water bills. (it comes to me not the tenants).

The trash is part of the I cover it.

Everyone does their own snow removal.

The single family houses do their own yard and lawn work..everyone else, I hire lawn maint. and take care of the gardens myself.

Re: What utilities do you pay for? by Eric (MN) on April 18, 2011 @15:42 [ Reply ]
Anything that can be attached to the property needs to either be paid by the LL, or watched just like the rent. Some find it easier to just pay these utilities and include it in the rent, rather than continually watch who is paying.

I do not have any SFH, but in my duplexes I pay all for some tenants, and some pay their own heat/elec. I would recommend you pay wate/sewer/garbage. You may have to pay for a lawn service if your tenant cannot mow it. Otherwise you risk a fine from the City

It really depends on your target market. If you get 650+ credit score people, they will pay the bills. If you get sub-600 score people, you will be stuck with them. Make sure your renters look like everyone else on the street in terms of occupation type, income level and education. You will ave less issues with that approach.

Re: What utilities do you pay for? by Bunny *M*A*G*I*C* on April 18, 2011 @16:14 [ Reply ]
For my SFH rental (I rent out the bedrooms with access to shared and community areas of the house), the tenants pay ALL utilities and I, in turn, have never raised the rent. They've been good & clean tenants for many years. My DH mows the lawn but one of the tenants likes to take care of weeding and cleaning and sweeping outside so that works for us. The house is about half a mile away.

In my out-of-state townhouse, the water/sewer bill, basic cable, trash, snow removal and landscaping upkeep is included in the HOA fee.

In my other house (neighboring city of the townhouse), the tenants are responsible for all utilities and all utilities are in their name. The current tenants have been there for about 4 years without any issues.

Since these two places are out of state, I do have a PM who is worth her weight in gold. One of my close friends lives in the townhouse complex and is on the HOA and also keeps an eye on things.

All in all, we've been pretty blessed with things.

Re: What utilities do you pay for? by anon (ohio) on April 19, 2011 @01:33 [ Reply ]
The norm in my area of the state is all utilities go into the renter's name. One place I rent I pay for the water, but this is only because it is run from my residence next door, and it would cost me more to pay to pipe and run the water from the road than it would to just cover the water by a slightly increased rental amount.
As a landlord, utility usage is a bone of contention when it is in my name.
As for garbage, I use a dumpster, because it is cheaper for me to take the bill and split the cost amoung all the households, than for everyone to pay separaately. My rental amount reflects this cost to me as the landlord for this service.
Your friend probably does it this way due to the setup, and calculates the water/garbage/ lawn care costs into his monthly rental asking amount.
Re: What utilities do you pay for? by OK-LL on April 19, 2011 @12:00 [ Reply ]
Check your local utility companies to see if any of the utilities can become a lien if the tenant doesn't pay. Here, the water/sewer/garbage is a city utility service, but does not become a lien on the property -- instead they chase the tenant down or refuse tenant future service, but the rental is not affected by deadbeat utility tenant.

In my SFH, I don't pay for any utilities and the tenants also take care of the lawn work -- that's kind of the point of a SFH instead of an apartment, right? If I have to hire lawn or cleaning service due to tenant's lack of care, I bill it back to them, pay it from the next rent payment and p/q them on the remaining unpaid rent.

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