When you own a rental property, you sometimes have the option of paying for the utilities yourself or getting your tenants to pay for them directly. Utilities usually include electricity, gas, oil, water and sewage and any other utility type service required to operate a house.
If you have a multi-unit property which does not have separate meters, you will have to pay for the utilities yourself. Make sure your rents reflect market rents that include utilities. Always state that the utilities are included when advertising your rental unit.
If there are separate meters, and I have the option, I always try and get the tenant to pay. If the tenants are paying for the utilities themselves, they are motivated to monitor the use of the utilities to try and control costs. If the utilities are included in the rent they don’t really care.
Another approach I use is that I advertise the property without utilities. If someone wants the utilities included, I figure out what the average usage is for the year and charge them a little bit more and then add it to their rents. I have an agreement that a report will be produced at the end of the year and the tenants will pay for any cost in excess of what the monthly increase covered.
In general, I try and avoid paying for utilities.