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What is a RUBS Program?
If you own or manage multifamily properties, this page will tell you more about ratio utility billing systems (RUBS) as a method for recovering utility expenses.
We provide services and free utility audits to communities with 20+ multifamily units.
What Is a RUBS Program?
A Ratio Utility Billing System (commonly known as a RUBS program) is a method for allocating master billed utility expenses to residents of a multifamily community. Rather than simply taking the bill and dividing by the number of units, RUBS takes into account factors like the square footage of a unit, and/or number of residents, depending on the utility. A good billing partner will work with you to customize a RUBS program that is as accurate as possible.
RUBS programs are a good method for allocating utility expenses in communities built before 1980 due to older plumbing configurations that may render submetering impossible or cost-prohibitive. RUBS programs will also provide an incentive for residents to conserve utilities since they are now paying a bill. Over time, having your master utility bills decrease up to 20% is common based solely on resident’s conservation efforts.
A RUBS program provides some insulation to owners against escalating utility costs that negatively impact NOI and are a good alternative to rent increases.
Is RUBS Legal?
Utilities are regulated at multiple levels; the state level, the utility level, and sometimes the local level, so the first thing we do is check the regulations at the property address. RUBS programs are allowed in most states, possibly with some restrictions. Where allowed, you may also be able to bundle any other type of master billed service, giving your residents the convenience of one bill. For example, it’s common practice to include trash removal service. Regulations may change periodically, but owners are generally grandfathered in to new regs under their existing program. Your billing partner should monitor these to ensure you are in compliance.
Is RUBS Fair?
A RUBS program is fair if the billing company follows all of your local regulations and best practices. Our mission is to design a customized solution that meets the needs of you, and your community.
Excellent reporting is part of the system, and reports are customizable to your needs.
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Why We Are Different
Multifamily Utility has been on the Inc 5000 Fastest Growing Companies list for six straight years.
We attribute our success to treating each customer like our only customer.
Our mission is to help you recover the maximum utility expense possible, increase your NOI, and help you conserve water, gas, and electric resources.
Our regulatory experts will help you comply with your local regulations and conservation programs, and can assist with benchmark requirements.
From Our Clients
I am very impressed with the level of attention MUC gave us as we transitioned to their platform. They addressed all our questions, thoroughly validated the data we supplied, and made certain our account was setup exactly as intended. One of the best implementations I’ve been through. Kudos!
Thanks again to you and your team — it’s really made administering RUBS a breeze compared to our prior experiences.
M | J | D Development
Responsive and Professional
We have found Multifamily Utility Company to be an extremely professional company. Their representatives are always responsive and attentive to our questions, as well as being very knowledgeable of all state regulations regarding utility billing. They gave us suggestions for increasing our revenue and we have seen a marked increase in collections and revenue since we started using their services. We are very pleased with all aspects of their service and look forward to a long, continued relationship with Multifamily Utility Company.
Client From Dallas, TX
Increased Property Value
Many other property owners have told me that they do not have the money to make the initial investment to install meters. But I recommend that they find a way to fund it because the payback is rapid — usually about one year to 18 months, and the revenue recovery is ongoing.
For example, when we purchased a 169 apartment home community in Indianapolis, I asked our bank to add the cost of meter installation onto our loan, which they readily did after I demonstrated how the program significantly increases property value. It cost about $225 per apartment home to install the gas submeters at the property, for a total of $38,025, and our mortgage increased by only $500 per month.
The gas bill for that property alone is $85,000 per year and we recover about 70 percent of those costs, after factoring out common area and vacant apartment home costs, a savings of $59,500 per year, which far surpasses the initial installation cost. Another benefit is that our property value has increased exponentially, which I calculated by taking the $59,500 at a 9.5 percent cap rate (rates can vary) which raised the property value by more than $500,000.
Client From Indianapolis, IN
Easy to Work With
I don’t mind sharing some information at all. Let me start off by telling you that I have been the manager here at OBT for a little less than 2 years. We have 214 units. The system was installed by the developer at construction so I can’t share any feedback related to the process of installing or speak to any differences prior to the system being installed.
When I arrived the association was dissatisfied with the prior billing company (AUM) and shortly thereafter we switched to MUC. We recently renewed our contract with them for a second year. We’re pleased with their work. They were responsive to some concerns shortly after the switch and sent Josh over to Phoenix from San Diego to assist in some investigation work on-site. The issues were tied back to bad information passed on from the prior vendor. They have been easy to work with and were agreeable to modifying the billing dates and the timing of their process in order to accommodate some property specific needs.
Client From Phoenix, AZ
Multifamily Utility Company has done an excellent job with our properties. They are very professional and have seamlessly transitioned many of our apartment buildings to the Ratio Utility Billing program, as well as setting up online automated meter reading and billing with our newer properties. I would recommend them to small and large property owners alike.
Client From San Diego, CA
Adding to the Bottom Line
We have calculated the increase in property value that comes along with submetering. For instance, on a property with 285 apartment homes with an average water bill of $7,000 per month, we can add up to $6,000 or more per month to the bottom line. At a 9 percent capitalization rate, that equates to a property value increase of $800,000.
Client From Tampa, FL
The results did not disappoint me. In December the bills declined after we began billing residents for their water consumption. In March 2003 and April 2003 bills were approximately $270 per day; May fell to $254. The difference between $462 in April 2001 and $270 in April 2003 is $192 per day – a payback of less than one year. The payback actually is much faster because we are collecting about $2000 each month from the billing program, an amount that should double by year-end as new leases are signed.
Client From Columbus, OH
Accurately monitoring each apartment home’s electrical usage gives a greater incentive for residents to conserve energy, since they are paying for exactly what they use. During a one-year period, an average of 17 percent less energy was consumed in the submetered residences.
Client From Portland, OR
Conscious Energy Use
An obvious trend has emerged now that residents are responsible for their own utility bills. Before the days of submetering, it was not uncommon to see windows open or hear air conditioners running in the middle of winter with heaters going full blast. It was a way to cool down the apartment, but now that residents are responsible for their own bills, they tend to just turn down the heat.
Client From Columbus, OH
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Grab Your Free Utility Audit
No obligation, we’ll even audit a billing program you are already running. Due to the cost of providing high-quality service, we have a twenty-unit minimum.