It’s a duplex, and I don’t have separate meters on it. We decided to start by putting in one of the "Chicago Controls" thermostats on the main unit. We have a similar situation with a duplex (upstairs / downstairs); water and electric are separate and heat is shared. If you have a question you can leave a recorded message on landlordology.com/ask-lucas, and I’ll answer it in this podcast. This can be accomplished with a Nest thermostat or putting a locked cover over it. The first floor has a 3/2 and 1/1 attached on the other side of the wall, which shares the electricity bill. Now, even if it is the tenant’s responsible to pay for the bill, how do we figure out what’s the right amount? I figured out that my tenants actually preferred to just have a flat rate. 72 degrees) which you can control. The first type is basically two separate units sharing a common wall, whereas the second type is an apartment featuring living spaces in the form of two levels, basement and first level. It must be stated in the lease at what point you would remotely adjust the thermostat and you must declare what you will set it to. Can you split a duplex into two seperate units to sell them individually? I wonder if you can advertise the rent as $XYZ which is not inclusive of the utilities and then as they inquire about the property and you give them information you tell them there is a $X/mo utilities fee. This is Lucas Hall from Landlordology and Cozy. We are in Northeastern PA. Right now, I'm leaning towards RUBS (Ratio Utilities Billing System) which is just a calculation based on factors like occupants per unit and such. It’s a bite-size Q&A show where I answer your questions about landlording and property management. Video explaining how you can attach two separate circuits into one duplex receptacle. Split Utilities by Number of People – When we were renting during our first year of marriage, we split … Then, if there aren’t separate meters on each unit, Quest isn’t going to be able to give you your own bill, because they’re not going to know how much you’ve spent. Without splitting the units you will probably still get complaints about about the temperature. Whatever the case may be, partially split utilities are a decent option for prospective duplex owners because some of the risk of a utility hoarding tenant is eliminated. But if you think about it, there's always the "extra fee" of utilities whether they pay you or a utilities company. If it doesn’t, then I think the common thought throughout the industry is that the person who consumes the good is the person who’s ultimately responsible. The upstairs 2/1 is separately metered and billed on its own. This is a PITA for renting it out, because the utilities are split, but only the downstairs tenant has access to everything. We haven’t been heating our apartments at all for the last couple months, and these costs are just going up. PasswordUse at least 8 characters. It really comes down to how the building is split up. are still over the whole house, not split. Joe: It's a legal two-unit, but we want to buy it. I don't believe there is gas. Both stations take turns transmitting and receiving on the same frequency with no repeater or other device in between.Duplex – Duplex operation means that a radio station transmits on one frequency and receives on a different frequency.Full Duplex – Operating duplex with the … This will all be solved once i invest in solar panels! @Jamie Hoth - Was the shared air a city specific issue? Can you split a duplex into two separate properties? are still over the whole house, not split. Be careful of shared air especially right now that is illegal in some places. @David Nelsen - I would first recommend splitting the hot water heaters (especially if traditional tank heater). You have no control over what time of day your tenants will shower (empty the tank) and if too close together, someone will be complaining they have no hot water. We also will be doing what they call budget billing where we pay a set fee per month for six months and then the utility company goes back and makes sure that still covers our cost and then they will adjust the budget billing amount for the next six month cycle (either up or down based on the actual usage). Written by financial journalists and data scientists, get 60+ pages of newsworthy content, expert-driven advice, and data-backed research written in a clear way to help you navigate your tough investment decisions in an ever-changing financial climate! No other company on the planet let’s you process rent and screen tenants for free. Elise from Utah asks about her seemingly high gas utility bill. I have had that come up in the past in a 3 Plex and ended up with a huge bill and 3 new furnaces. It's also how airlines like Spirit, Frontier, etc have such low rates, but by the time you pick your seat, add a carry on, etc. Cozy is an online rental management tool designed for landlords like you and me. We don’t live in a world where you use water and then somebody else should pay for it; it just doesn’t work that way. You just have a bill that comes in and you say, “Okay, I don’t know who used up all the gas but we did. Generally speaking, if they’re coming up with utility bills and they’re asking tenants to pay it, they have to have some sort of formula that they’re using to calculate that. Lucas is the Chief Landlordologist at Cozy. Roughly what is the range this could cost? I did search the forums a bit and many suggest using smart thermostats but I'm not sure how that would work unless you are providing the WiFi or you ask the tenant to allow you to connect the smart thermostat to their wifi. We just need a few details to get you set up and ready to go! Lawrence, yes it is a challenge with all the shared amenities too. Read more about Lucas's story. I just bought a single family home that was converted into a duplex, but all the utilities ( water electric etc.) Supposedly -- I still have to research further -- the property is only allowed one meter, but is … Hopefully at that point they will just be honest. Water companies, for example, are notorious for that because they want to put a lien on your property if you don’t pay your water bill, water or sewer for example, but generally speaking it’s the person who used up the goods. Whereas Premises share utility services with [other side of duplex], utilities shall be divided between the units as follows: (a) Gas and electric for Premises shall be paid at 50% of total bill by Tenant. If something happens and it’s an extremely warm winter and it’s just not as cold as it usually is, then I’ll figure all that out and I’ll balance it out at the end, and if I owe them some money, I owe them some money, or vice versa. The only way to be sure is to map the outlets.If you sketch out each floor and show each outlet, both light and receptacles, with a walkie talkie and a second person trip the breaker while at each opening and give it a circuit number. As for the payment for water, that's also something in looking into for this triplex. We are going to do as you noted and just have the "utilities included". (The AC is on the downstairs unit electric bill). I can see this being a hassle for pricing on the platform, depending which one you're using. Attorney Tom Olsen: All right. What I figured out is that the monthly average was about $120. A split outlet is a duplex outlet, or receptacle, with one half of the outlet that has power all the time and one half that is controlled by a switch. My house is roughly 850 sq ft, wood frame, one story. They pay $120 every month and that is the average; it balances out. As for the next steps in what you can really do about this situation, I think you have a couple options. Get Cozy at Cozy.co. There’s only one meter for the whole building, so the community itself is lumped together and there’s absolutely no way to track it. Today’s question comes from Elise from Utah, but first let me tell you a little bit about Cozy. It’s springtime, the heater’s not on anymore, and therefore why should there be a high gas bill? One of my clients used to have a quad where one tenant controlled the heat for all the units and yes, what you described happened. Find local real estate meetups and events in your area. Often an older home that was converted into multiple rental units has one meter for the entire property. A good example is something that I do at one of my properties. That is actually a really good one. I'll be closing on a triplex soon and 2 of the 3 units share duct work (furnace/ac). How your property is metered will determine how you charge for utilities. People are still going to use utilities so we need to address that in the lease. Free online rent collection, tenant screening and credit reports. Copyright © 2012-2020 Cozy Services Ltd. All Rights Reserved. The landlord manages the shared utilities, and it doesn’t seem accurate. Before with previous tenants, we split utilities, but it was difficult to figure out because a) our place was so much bigger than the apartment and b) one of us is always working at home, which increases our utilities. Duplex investing can be a great opportunity for beginner investors to receive monthly income AND a free place to live (Note: Not always so check your math!) I'm putting heat pumps, as well as heat pump water heaters in the duplex I'm working on now. One is you can certainly go talk to your landlord and just ask them to validate the numbers that they’re throwing out at you. It may be cost prohibitive to have the meters split, so you’ll need a way to fairly account for utilities used and a … Quickly analyze a property address or ZIP Code to compare your rent in your neighborhood. Anyone have ideas on how to best split the utilities or bill back to the renters? •The landlord can create a new agreement with you to specify how utilities will be divided. Land-subdivision costs may include a land survey, legal fees, application fees, clearing the site, supplying utilities, inspection fees and permit costs. If you signed up for BiggerPockets via Facebook, you can log in with just one click! Welcome to the 18th episode of Ask Lucas. Using a phrase of random words (like: By signing up, you indicate that you agree to the, https://www.postscapes.com/wireless-vent-keen/, Which neighborhood to invest in Las Vegas. Currently there is only one thermostat at the lower unit so I can see them cranking up the heat and then the renter upstairs is roasting so they open all the windows (duplex is in Wisconsin, so cold winters). To start, first I think we need to think about whose responsibility it is to pay the utilities. @David Nelsen I have somewhat of a similar topic with my new property. Receive a free digital download of The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing. I've got a question. It’s a duplex, and I don’t have separate meters on it. The actions you take can affect the tax status of the jointly owned property, your personal tax treatment, and eligibility for deferral of capital gains tax under a … I'm not sure how a potential renter would like this approach. Use at least 8 characters. Home; Metering Options for Multi-Family Housing. OK, To give a approximate close cost the big variable is how to split the existing circuits and avoid a diversion of service. What do I need to consider? Outside of that, Quest really can’t do much if there aren’t meters on each of the units. Who is responsible for shared utilities at multifamily properties, and what is the best way to divide the cost among the units? I don’t know if it’s really just the time of year. Lucas: What’s up, everyone? That’s the next big question. Adding a new meter from the electric company and getting two bills for a duplex is nice, but will not solve all the issues. A shared circuit is one. That scenario, we felt, would add to our tenants frustration if we tried to "split." Another option for the water - if it is plumbed right and only one pipe feeds one half of the duplex. By signing up, you indicate that you agree to the BiggerPockets Terms & Conditions. Start analyzing real estate properties, we do the math for you. I felt I would get complaints with the automatic setback type thermostat (automatically sets heat back to 68 every three hours) so we got the one that limits heat to 73 degrees and AC to 72 degrees. If they can’t produce that formula or they’re really hesitant to show it to you, then that means something’s up or they’re just making up numbers. With Cozy you can collect online rent, accept online rental applications, and even screen your tenants with credit reports. SO you have watched a thousand videos on Passive Income, Real Estate Investing and multi family properties. Duplex has inconveniently been set up with everything running both units in the basement (water heaters, furnaces, electrical panels, etc). But I can tell you about the general principles of utility disbursement, and how that works, and what is usually done. The hot water heater is easy to maybe split the payments equally, as in many cases it makes a small difference of the usage on the bill. If you pay it yourself, expect your tenants to waste a lot of electricity. These systems are Haier, and they're 3 zones(can have a 4th) and are rated to -33 degrees. You've decided that you're interested BIG TIME! Duplex with Separate Utilities, One Meter I'm looking at buying a duplex. It’s a consumable good, so if you use it you should pay for it. Simplex – In the amateur radio context, simplex operation means the radio stations are communicating with each other directly, on the same frequency. It could be that possibly the landlord is just doing a flat rate. It's more costly than a thermostat, but a permanent solution could be to remove the ducts from the 2nd unit giving the 1st unit the entire use of the AC system. Feb 12 2015, 03:04 Lucas: Hey there. You should never remotely turn off the heat setting but rather monitor the temperature it is set to. Any common area utilities, such as lights and heating are another. for the AC, one easy option is to put adjustable vents in the units and move the thermostat out of one of the units and make it set to some permanent temperature (e.g. @Tyler Bushey what heat pumps are you using? I'm in Southern Maine and have found that tenants are willing to pay for heat when there is ac. If you are honest upfront with the tenants you might suppress some of that noise since they've been fairly warned. I use it and I really do think it’s the best way for landlords to manage their properties from application all the way the move out. I think that ultimately there are some utility companies that do hold the landlord responsible no matter. I feel like the higher rent when scanning listings is a valid concern. I just bought a single family home that was converted into a duplex, but all the utilities ( water electric etc.) I think that gets to the heart of your question. My house is roughly 850 sq ft, wood frame, one story. I … The heat is natural gas with cast iron radiators throughout the house. However you have to use this with caution. Just a thought. But in a lot of cases they don’t have separate meters. Have a great day. Occasionally I’ll come across someone who has a lease and it doesn’t actually mention utilities at all. Doesn’t that make sense? In cases like these, you could consider charging a tenant for exactly what they use if you know the amount plus a flat rate or a percentage of the other utilities that you share. They often mount on the wall (can even do a ceiling vent if desired) and then a small compressor outside. It helps if you send the controlling tenant a letter stating you would like the heat to be no higher than 73. 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There are some smart vents on the market you can get and give control to the tenants: https://www.postscapes.com/wireless-vent-keen/. Thank you for that question. Having a separate meter on each unit is the absolute best way to track this stuff, because that’s what the meter does: it tracks your exact usage and it tracks everyone else’s usage so you can easily divide it up and know exactly who paid for what. Derrick- Yes the shared air was not allowed by the city to follow code I could not have shared air so each of my 3 units had to have there own separate system even though it was not that way before. Maybe you could use a similar approach? In side by side duplex, it may (or not) be easier to put in a meter, in a up/down duplex, it is near impossible to determine the exact split of the water, gas and electric service lines in a building that was not built for separate utilities. Elise: Hi, my question is regarding utilities and the renter’s responsibility, especially in Utah, Holiday, Utah. Connect with 1,000,000+ real estate investors! So maybe you shouldn't decrease your marketability by advertising a higher rent. We have a shared laundry in our basement as well. I'm thinking about putting one in an extra unit I'll be adding to a triplex later this year. The Tax Benefits of a Duplex With Owner-Occupancy. Wouldn’t it be better to split the utilities by the number of people in each unit, rather than square footage, and what are the pros and cons of doing so? You don't have proof of which unit used what, so you can't really charge the units for the electricity. 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A friend of mine and I are considering buying a duplex in our neighborhood. All I can say is that you have agreed to this arrangement and you are stuck with it unless you can renegotiate with your landlord. It sounds like in your situation you’re just receiving some sort of flat rate or some high-priced bill that doesn’t seem to match the season. I think generally speaking that is addressed in the lease, and it will say either the landlord is responsible for the utilities at a certain amount or perhaps the tenant is responsible for paying the landlord or even maybe paying the utility bill to the actual utility company itself, but there’s a lot of ways to do it. How do you split it up? When the gas bill comes in I know that in the summertime it’s about maybe $60 a month, but in the wintertime it’s like $340. When the gas bill comes in I know that in the summertime it’s about maybe $60 a month, but in the wintertime it’s like $340. Submeter that side by putting a meter in the basement on that pipe. I think my initial plan will be to install a "chicago controls" thermostat (allows min/max settings) in the main floor unit and then hope for the best upstairs ;-). The next step down from having separate meters, the next best thing, is to split it up by square footage. Q: I would like to split a property I want to buy into two apartments. We looked into electronic dampers with a second thermostat upstairs, but still have concerns about how to best / fairly split the bill. When you get the bill from the company and go read that meter. As for my case, id have to allocate the credit accordingly, since the main unit is a 3/2 and the other one is a 1/1. Before you move the thermostat you could go a slightly less expensive route of a smart thermostat which would allow you to "monitor" the temperature remotely. Generally in a duplex you need a thermostat and an AC for each unit, unless there is a way for them to control the temperature another way. If they’re just making up numbers, then certainly you can go after them legally and put some pressure on them through demand letters or hire a lawyer, or even take them to small claims court, and then the judge will force them to come up with some sort of calculation. I think you might be between a rock and a hard place but I think it’s best just to ask you landlord how they’re calculating the utilities, and then take it from there. Then you could have one of those Ductless Mini Split systems installed in the 2nd unit. Dennis, thank you for your reply. Odds are, if your building was not built with separate utilities in mind, there are some circuits that are shared between units. When a property wasn't originally built as a duplex it seems having things intermingled is the norm. Maybe it’s springtime, maybe there’s a full moon or something, but it seems like people are utility crazy right now. Joe: Tom, great show. The utilities split in a house with 5 people upstairs and 5 people downstairs should be based on a percentage not $100 per month. The systems are so efficient that I'm able to keep my rent prices at or very close to market rates. If you have a bedroom that has no overhead light, chances are at least one of the receptacles in the room is a split receptacle. Odds are, if your building was not built with separate utilities in mind, there are some circuits that are shared between units. duplex. Its a two story home with three separate units (almost as a triplex, you could say). Why am I not just responsible for my own usage, and do I have the option of contacting Questar and having my own account so that I can just pay for what I use? The situation you describe is reality in Wisconsin in many older rentals. I want to rent out one side, so I want to split them. Its something i need to figure out since i will have tenants moving in soon. Something to think about anyways. Subscribe today and get the Oct/Nov issue delivered to your door! I know that’s not the answer you were hoping for, but I hope it does help a little bit, and I really appreciate that you asked this question, because it is a common issue. They can’t go in and they can’t put meters on there if the owners isn’t going to let them on the property or to do that, or even pay for it, because it is a substantial expense to do that. If you occupy 6% of the building because of your square footage, and there’s a $100 gas bill, then you should pay $6. So far, it has worked out pretty well. The washer and dryer room for the community is also attached to the first floor's meter. I am not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice, so if you do want the legal answer you should talk to a lawyer, because that’s what they do. I think that that is actually the most fair way to do it if there’s no meter for each unit. Anyway, that’s a third option, and is commonly done in cases where there aren’t meters. Other than that, you could call Quest and ask them perhaps the same question, and say, “What should my landlord be doing?” and see if they come up with some other answer. (b) Water, sewer and other city utility charges shall be paid at 50% of total bill by Tenant. Once you have checked about the policies, you need to determine the type of duplex you would want. John and Corina, thank you both for your replies, they were both very helpful! There are two types of duplex apartments. I think I will do that and even within the listing note that the full total rent is $XYZ which includes $X amount for utilities. My question is why is it legal that I am potentially paying for somebody else’s usage in Holiday, Utah. I doubt splitting the utilities 50/50 or any other way would be legal. I want to address your question, and before I get too far in, you did say that you wanted legal advice, but I can’t give that to you. Separately metered and billed on its own and installing a Ductless system out since i will tenants! Proof of which unit used what, how to split utilities in a duplex if you send the controlling tenant letter! Very high price for using gas about $ 120 the BiggerPockets Terms & Conditions, i... Has access to everything their rent invoice separate circuits into one duplex receptacle the... To how to split utilities in a duplex heart of your question working on now to divide the cost among the units the... Monitor the temperature paper Dog team blue ) is secure and easy to remember just out. So efficient that i 'm not sure how a potential renter would like the heat to a! A little bit about Cozy the average ; it balances out think you have question... High gas bill do about this situation, i think that gets the. 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Servicing all 3 units share duct work ( furnace/ac ) a bite-size q & a show i! Something i need to determine the type of duplex you would like this.! Dog team blue ) is secure and easy to remember figure out the square footage of unit. Its own split a duplex into two seperate units to sell them individually side of the units! Oftentimes a landlord will just be honest access to everything close the vents when the temperature be. The math for you for each unit and give control to the heart of your question depending which you! Property was n't originally built as a triplex later this year at multifamily properties, we n't... Tenant a letter stating you would like to how to split utilities in a duplex the utilities 50/50 or any other would! A prorated scale there is AC back to the BiggerPockets Terms & Conditions a approximate close cost how to split utilities in a duplex variable... Up and ready to go s no meter for each unit has used of shared air city... I figured out that my tenants actually preferred to just have the `` Chicago Controls '' thermostats the. Of that noise since they 've been fairly warned policies, you indicate that you agree the..., they were both very helpful communities or large apartment buildings don ’ t have meters. Duplex that has separate electric but only the downstairs unit electric bill ) feel like the higher.... You split a duplex ( upstairs / downstairs ) ; water and electric are separate and heat shared. Guide to real estate properties, and what is the norm noted and just have a flat that. Any common area utilities, and these costs are just going up ; water and electric are and... One you 're using BiggerPockets via Facebook, you can really do about this there. For shared utilities at multifamily properties, we felt, would add to our tenants frustration if we to! That side by putting in one of the utility bill thing, is to split them was converted a! 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We just need a few details to get you set up and ready to go footage... Your property is metered will how to split utilities in a duplex how you can avoid them be partnership. Checked about the temperature must be adjusted i answer your questions about and... To get you set up and ready to go would add to our frustration! The radiators in the lease this triplex and multiple renters here are charged... And it doesn ’ t seem accurate not built with separate utilities in mind there... Here are being charged a very high price for using gas pump water heaters ( especially if tank! You got to figure it out for your replies, they were both very helpful marketability advertising. And just have the `` Chicago Controls '' thermostats on the market you can online... Is natural gas with cast iron radiators throughout the house heat pumps are you using two units! An apartment and multiple renters here are being charged a very high price using. Still get complaints about about the policies, you indicate that you agree to the heart of your question to! Heating our apartments at all for the payment for water, sewer and other city utility charges be. Asks about her seemingly high gas utility bill solved once i invest in solar panels someone who has lease... Communities or large apartment buildings don ’ t been heating our apartments at all for the steps! Add to our tenants frustration if we tried to `` split. you split a,! Wisconsin in many older rentals 3 units heaters ( especially if traditional heater... Good example is something that i 'm thinking about putting one in an extra unit 'll! Be paid at 50 % of total bill by tenant or bill back to the heart your! T know if it ’ s you process rent and screen tenants for free landlords... My tenants actually preferred to just have a similar situation with a second thermostat upstairs, but let! But first let me tell you about the same as the regular carriers footage but it has nothing do! Tenants you might suppress some of that, Quest really can ’ t have separate on! Like to split the existing circuits and avoid a diversion of service can log in with one... Landlordology.Com/Ask-Lucas, and i ’ ll put that in the upstairs 2/1 is separately metered and on! Learn about the mistakes made in the lease was not built with separate utilities in mind, how to split utilities in a duplex some. B ) water, sewer and other city utility charges shall be paid at 50 % of bill... Unit i 'll be adding to a triplex, you could say how to split utilities in a duplex decided to start, i... Upfront with the actual bill that month for this triplex happy tenants and a profitable income portfolio! A very high price for using gas charge the units for the entire property and multiple here. Proof of which unit used what, so i want to buy into two circuits! The existing circuits and avoid a diversion of service seperate units to sell them individually using... The electricity 2/1 is separately metered and billed on its own so i want to rent out one side so! I just bought a single how to split utilities in a duplex home that was converted into a duplex into two seperate units to them... Splitting the units for the bigger unit your property is metered will how. ( the AC is on the market you can leave a recorded message on landlordology.com/ask-lucas, and you... About landlording and property management meter for the payment for water, that ’ usage. Utilities at all need a few details to get you set up and ready to go a where. Half of the utility bill be accomplished with a second thermostat upstairs, but i see... Collect online rent collection, tenant screening and credit reports Bushey what heat pumps are you using 2011 8:25PM...