HMO Daddy, Jim Haliburton, has been a full time property investor and owns J9 accommodation for over 25 years. He has used Metro Prepaid electric sub meters for his HMOs’s landlord electricity and over the years has had the following to say:
“After setting up well over 1000 HMO rooms and many years as a property trainer, I know that the all-in model with free electricity that many HMO owners adopt is flawed. It drives the wrong behaviour, with tenants not switching off appliances using electric heaters whilst leaving the windows wide open or worse taking a long weekend in Greece and leaving the appliances running. Savvy landlords have been sub metering their tenants for years. Coin meters have the disadvantage of requiring emptying and attract theft and damage to the meter. Card meters have the disadvantage of administrating the sale of cards and dealing with knock off cards and all meters have the problem of being bypassed. Metro meters remove the need to supply cards, the tenant can purchase electricity online or at any Pay point and provide monthly account of usage so if a tenant is not paying it can easily be identified. They are also far cheaper to purchase. Whenever I fit card meters to rooms I find the electric use by the household drops by nearly half, a positive contribution to cutting energy costs and helping energy conservation. I am now fitting Metro meters to all my properties.”
" Can I share with you a tip for HMO landlords on how to more half their electric costs overnight?
Answer:Fit prepay electric meters and when I have done this my bills have dropped by 49%. Not only are you saving money and the planet but you are recovering most of the cost of the electric of your now 51% electric bill using prepay meters by charging your tenants for it. If you want to save on gas make the heating electric as well and save a lot more.
Gone are the days where you had to mess about using coin meters or selling cards to your tenants - a new company on the block called Metro Meters do that for you. They sell the electric for your prepay meters online or via pay point shops and keep the record of the sales for you. "
Jim Haliburton in response to the question: are landlords doing enough to promote energy conservation?
" When is it going to be realised that the only thing that is true about energy conservation is the first three letters, it is all a CON! I would like to do my bit to save the planet and the cost of heating my HMOs and I have tried nearly every conservation measure and it makes no difference to the amount of energy used in the HMO. I know this because I monitor the gas and electric used in my HMOs every week. I started with energy-efficient boilers and they use the same amount of gas as the old 30-year-old so-called inefficient boiler they replaced except they are far more unreliable and much more expensive to fix. The same happens with every other conservation measure I have tried in my HMOs, there is no change in the energy used in the HMO .
The only way I can find to reduce energy usage in my HMOs is to fit prepay electric meters into each room and this cuts the electric used by the tenants by up to 50% . "
Mentee Belinda (not her real name): Jim, should I fit PAYG meters to my new Castle Hill Studios project?
Mentor, Jim Haliburton: Belinda, one needs to think through the implications of fitting electric sub meters at Castle Hill.
1.My experience is fitting prepay electric sub meters reduces the use of electric by up to 50% thereby doing your bit to save the planet. It is the only thing I have found that is worthwhile in reducing energy consumption.
2. It could be a selling point to emphasise that Castle Hill Studios is doing what it can to be more energy efficient. I believe for millennials and gen-z energy conservation is a big issue.
The way each studio is wired makes installation of prepay electric meters very simple. To avoid upsetting the tenants I would only fit meters when the studio becomes vacant i.e. only charge new tenants.
3. It will I believe on a project of this size, reduce the consumption and so the cost of electricity by about £50k per annum and I am guessing bring in £50k worth of income from the sale of electricity. In round figures £100k per annum and with energy costs rapidly increasing it could be a LOT more.
4. If you value Castle Hill Studios on its net income this will increase the value by 17 x £100k = £1.7M
The above are only assumption and you need to take into account the cost of the meters which from memory are £45 each plus fitting. The total cost of the meters themselves is about £9k insignificance when compared to the savings.
Metro Prepaid Support