When moving into a multifamily living unit such as an apartment or condominium, one of the queries you will have is how you will be charged for your utilities. Will your rent include some or all of your utilities or will you be billed based on an estimate or actual usage? The most fair way to be charged for your individual utility usage is by using submeters. This article will briefly examine submetering from the perspective of the tenant; we have a second article which outlines submetering from the landlord’s perspective (*link)
Submetering is the practice of determining a single unit’s utility usage via individual meters for that unit. Historically, utilities have been included in the rent, but more and more property owners are choosing to install submeters. When tenants are charged for their actual usage, they tend to be more mindful of how much water, gas, and electricity they use on a daily basis.
The tenant that is being referred to here is not just the person who dwells in a residential community; the tenant may also be a person who operates or works in a commercial building and paying for actual utility usage in this venue has the same benefits as that in residential settings. Submeters can be used in mercantile establishments but if installing individual meters is not feasible, then a fair Ratio Utility Billing System (RUBS) may be employed instead. A RUBS is a calculation of utility usage that it based on the size, type, and occupancy of the residential or commercial space
Submetering not only saves tenants money but it also helps to conserve natural resources, something that more and more people presently value. If a residential or commercial building is environmentally-conscious and encourages its tenants to adopt the same mentality, this can be a huge selling point in getting people to rent from such locations. And it isn’t just hype: submetering discourages utility wastefulness which does, in turn, save renewable and nonrenewable natural resources.
If helping conserve natural resources and saving money are things that you value, look to rent a newer building that will be more likely to have submeters in use. Older buildings may or may not be using submeters so make sure to inquire about this. Even if you are indifferent to the notion of saving the environment, submetering offers you the best way of saving on your utility bills which means more cash in your pocket!