As a landlord, you have a lot on your plate, from managing tenant requests to ensuring your properties are in tip-top shape. Among these responsibilities, it’s easy to overlook the importance of regularly reviewing your property utility bills. However, recent experiences have highlighted just how crucial this can be. In the past few months, we’ve encountered significant mistakes in the monthly billing for gas and electric at three of our properties. These mistakes were related to how the utility company recorded electric readings for night and day, resulting in incorrect billing.
After a careful examination of our utility bills, we noticed discrepancies that raised alarm bells. Upon closer inspection, it became evident that the utility company had wrongly recorded the meter readings for our electricity consumption for day and night readings.
What followed was a process of thorough documentation, communication, and persistence. We gathered all relevant photos and conducted meter tests to prove that the utility company’s recorded readings were incorrect. We then embarked on a journey of countless phone calls and emails to rectify the situation. So definitely not a short and easy process.
The results were astounding. In each case, our efforts paid off, and the utility company corrected our accounts to reflect the accurate meter readings. The financial impact was significant, with more than £2000 saved for each property, one property was even overcharged for £4000.
So, why should landlords make it a habit to review their property utility bills regularly?
- Avoid Extra Expenses: Utility bills can make up a significant part of your property’s operating costs. By carefully reviewing them, you can catch errors that may lead to overcharging, just as we did. Correcting these mistakes can result in substantial savings.
- Energy Efficiency: By monitoring utility consumption, you can identify trends and areas where energy efficiency improvements can be made. This not only reduces costs but also benefits the environment.
To avoid unexpected surprises and financial setbacks, here are some practical tips for landlords:
- Regular Meter Readings: Ensure that you or your property manager takes accurate meter readings regularly. This helps in tracking usage patterns and verifying the utility company’s readings.
- Document Everything: Maintain meticulous records of all utility bills, meter readings, and communications with the utility company. This documentation can be invaluable when disputing errors.
- Stay Informed: Keep yourself updated on any changes in utility rates, billing procedures, or regulations that may affect your properties.
- Engage a Property Manager: If managing utility bills feels overwhelming, consider hiring a property manager who specializes in this area. They can handle the day-to-day tasks of monitoring bills and ensuring accuracy.
In conclusion, being a vigilant landlord goes beyond just property maintenance and tenant relations. Regularly reviewing utility bills, verifying meter readings, and addressing errors promptly can save you money and maintain trust with your tenants. It’s a small investment of time and effort that can lead to substantial financial benefits and peace of mind in the long run.