Are you wondering about the best way to handle utilities for your investment property? These are all of the options you have as a property owner.
Keyword(s): investment property, full-service property management Seattle, rental property service
What is the best way to handle utilities at a rental property? Should it be included in monthly rent?
There are a number of considerations to take into account to ensure the greatest return on an investment property. What are the risks and benefits of bill transfer under the tenant's name? We explore it all below.
Utilities at an Investment Property
Some landlord advice will tell you that the landlord should be in control of the utilities. That way they are in your name and you can handle all the inconveniences. If the heat goes out in the winter, it's your responsibility.
You can also increase the rent because you're paying all the utilities. This is often most convenient for tenants. They don't have to worry about transferring the utilities into or out of their name.
At the same time, your tenants may be more inclined to crank the heat up and create expensive bills if they know they don't have to cover it.
Here are some utility bills your property may have:
- Water and sewer
- Security System
Even if you choose to cover some of the utilities, you don't have to cover them all. For example, some landlords choose to cover all but the last three. They leave those up to the tenant because they don't consider them essential.
If you're asking tenants to pay for their own utilities, they know you're not over charging for utilities. This builds trust and goodwill between the landlord and the tenant.
Tenants paying utilities can call the utility company themselves if there is a problem, and they take on the responsibility. You don't have to worry about problems with a utility bill or other glitch.
At the same time, some people can get confused about transferring utilities into their name. If a pipe bursts because the heat was too low or got shut off, you are still responsible for the pipe and home repairs, even though it wasn't your fault.
Get Help from a Professional
The best way to handle utilities is to get a full-service property management Seattle company to handle it for you. Good investing advice will tell you that a good property manager can help you find good tenants, as well as handle decisions like utilities.
A rental property service is also on call all the time, so you don't get woken up in the middle of the night. They conduct inspections and collect security deposits. It takes away many of your responsibilities (the unpleasant ones, especially!).
Choosing the Right Option
Taking care of an investment property is a big responsibility, one that landlords sometimes wish wouldn't take quite so much input. If you go the direction of a property service, they can help take on some of that responsibility so you don't have to.
For more information, check out the rest of our website and learn more about full service property management.