Smart meters and rented accommodation
If you’re a landlord, installing a smart meter into your rented properties can benefit you, your tenants and the planet. Let’s find out more.
You already know that smart meters can bring you many benefits. Being able to monitor your energy consumption in real-time makes it easier to understand your relationship with energy. Then, you can make small changes to reduce your energy consumption, saving you money and being kinder to the environment.
But did you know that smart meters aren’t just for homeowners? If you’re a landlord, you can get smart meters installed into your rented properties in the same way you would get one in your home. As a result, it makes your tenants’ lives easier, as well as providing several advantages to you.
In this article, we’ll look in more detail at smart meters in rented accommodation. We’ll look at why you should get them installed (or, if you’re renting a property, why you should ask your landlord about smart meters).
Landlords – take action
The energy industry is urging landlords to get smart meters installed in their rental properties. It’s an excellent time to get it done because many people are still working from home after the pandemic, so tenants may not have to take time off work for the installation.
Research shows that tenants who rent properties would like to take advantage of all the benefits of having smart meters, but are less likely to actually get them installed. There has been some confusion in the past about whether tenants can get smart meters, but the rules have been clarified.
It is down to the bill payer to request a free smart meter from their energy company, so if the tenants pay their bills, it’s up to them to ask for a smart meter. This rule is only overridden if there is a clause in the tenancy agreement that prevents smart meter installation without the consent of the landlord.
Landlords could even encourage their tenants to get smart meters, promoting the many benefits.
Benefits to tenants
If you’re a tenant in a rental property, you can gain several advantages from getting a smart meter:
- Installation is free
- You can monitor your energy consumption in real-time and look for ways to save energy
- If you can use less energy, you can save money – plus, it’s better for the environment
- Knowing exactly what you’re spending on energy means you can budget more effectively
- If you share a property, you can split your energy bills more effectively, as you know how much you’ve actually used
- Your smart meter sends your energy data to your supplier automatically, so you won’t have as many people calling to read the meter
- When you know exactly how much you spend compared to how much energy you consume, it’s easier to shop around for better deals with other suppliers
- If your energy bills are included in your rent, you can see if the amount you pay matches how much the supplier charges. You may even be able to negotiate a discount with your landlord
Smart meters help you stay in control of your energy consumption and how much you spend. When every penny counts, your smart meter might make all the difference. Know your rights regarding getting a smart meter. If you need to talk to your landlord before you can request an installation, have that conversation. There’s every likelihood your landlord will agree to get a smart meter, as it benefits them too.
Benefits for landlords
When landlords get a smart meter for their rental properties, they immediately provide their tenants with a better experience, for all the reasons listed above. It could even be a selling point for your properties. You also get the satisfaction of helping your tenants reduce energy consumption, which could save them money.
From a financial point of view, smart meters let you know exactly how much you should be paying for your energy. Often, your tenants won’t bother to send meter readings to your supplier, and you may end up paying bills using estimated readings. Having a smart meter takes it out of their hands, as it all happens automatically.
If getting a smart meter installed sounds like a bit of a hassle, or you don’t know where to start, some energy suppliers run special services for landlords. For example, if you employ letting agents to run your rental properties, the suppliers will liaise with your agents, so you don’t have to lift a finger.
Some rental properties use prepayment energy meters, where tenants buy energy using a prepayment card at a shop, then load it into their meter. Sometimes, it is easier for landlords and tenants to do it this way, as it’s one less account to administrate when the tenants move on.
The good news is, smart meters can work with prepayment as well as direct debits. Smart meters can show you and your tenants how much power is left and when it’s time to recharge. You can also use it to top up your meter online, using a text message or a mobile phone app.
A smart opportunity
Having a smart meter installed is a golden opportunity for landlords to do something great for their tenants, as well as the planet. It could help them be more efficient in their energy consumption and even save them money.
At a time when they may be working from home, so they don’t have to take time off work for the engineer, doesn’t it sound like something worth doing?