Recent research by property
bods at Rightmove has found that ‘bills included’ is now one of the most
popular search terms currently used by prospective tenants, overtaking ‘pets’
and ‘garden’, marking yet another change in what renters want.
What does this mean for private landlords? Many landlords running Houses of Multiple Occupation offer bills included as standard practice, so why don’t all landlords?
Makes a property more desirable
By including bills, tenants know exactly what they’ll be paying every month, which could make a rental property more popular, meaning less risk of a property staying vacant.
Attracts different types of tenants
Offering rent with bills included may attract a wider range of tenants, such as students and first-time renters. Younger tenants could find it easier to manage one lump sum as it saves them having to budget every month, and means they don’t have the hassle of finding utility providers or changing accounts over.
Less risk of unpaid bills
If bills are included then you, as the landlord, can ensure all payments are made on time. This makes things a lot easier at the end of a tenancy as there’s no need to check meter readings, change account holder names or dispute unpaid bills.
Utility costs can change on a month-to-month basis, especially now, when energy prices are at an all-time high. This may mean a landlord finds themselves paying out more for utilities during the winter months, therefore eating into their profits. Also, just because bills go up, it doesn’t mean you can pass this increase on to tenants. It’s important to check the rules about charging for utilities if you are offering an all-inclusive rent.
Managing the bills for a property you don’t live in could prove complicated. You’ll need to stay on top of factors such as switching suppliers, the fastest broadband provider and so on. Also, if there’s an emergency such as a power cut or loss of water, then it will probably fall to you to contact the supplier as you’re the account holder.
If the worst happens and a tenant fails to pay their rent, not only will you lose out on your monthly income, but you’ll also have to fork out for their bills. Although your tenancy agreement can protect you against such losses, in the short term it will come out of your pocket.
If you’re a landlord looking for tenants, contact our team at Cooke & Co Estate and Letting Agents.