Most new multifamily buildings and even complexes such as townhome complexes or manufactured home communities are now equipped with smart meters. These meters are installed by the property owner at the time of construction, which makes installation easy and offering immediate benefits of smart metering for both property owners as well as tenants.
In existing older buildings, most landlords or property management services are using some form a RUBS or ratio utility billing system for each unit. The specific system may be as basic as a set amount per square foot, or it can be a combination of unit type and size as well as occupancy.
The Pros and Cons of RUBS
Regardless of the specific configuration RUBS is a simple system that requires no additional equipment or installation. However, it does result in numerous complaints, billing questions, billing disputes and ongoing discord between various tenants in the building if there is heavy water usage or what is deemed to be an unfair allocation of the monthly bill.
The Pros and Cons of Smart Metering
For landlords, there are two issues that often occur when transitioning from a RUBS to a smart meter system. The first is the cost of installing the meters. With a professional water utility management company this cost is very low and typically can be recouped by lower vacancy rates and less time spent in dealing with RUBS billing issues.
The second is in addressing concerns from tenants about smart metering. There is a lot of misleading, inaccurate and obsolete information online about issues with security, emissions of radiation and even in tracking how water is used in a unit.
By providing tenants with information in advance for the security, safety and the use of smart metering technology, these issues can be avoided. Once tenants see the value in only paying for the water they use, this is typically a welcome addition on any property.