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The 3 most common utilities billing oversights for letting agents

Jam Team

PR

24 August 2023

When it comes to utilities, seemingly small oversights can become costly issues. From inflated bills to fractured relationships, letting agents can ensure that money and resources aren’t wasted and both tenants and landlords remain secure and satisfied in their agreement.

We explore some of the common pitfalls faced by letting agents when dealing with utilities billing.

Meter Reading Reliance

Over a third of landlords are facing significant price hikes due to the current mortgage crisis, and there are opportunities to reduce costs with more accurate methods of billing.

For properties without a smart meter, landlords face paying estimates based on previous readings. These are usually based on a time period in which the property is occupied and utilities are in regular use, resulting in higher than necessary charges for the landlord in void periods.

Opting to rely on meter reading estimates over tracking actual usage during void periods can result in inaccurate and inflated bills for landlords, which can be frustrating to landlords already facing rising costs.

Letting agents have a real opportunity to add value to landlords in this area, sharing their expertise to encourage cost-saving methods. Advising landlords on where they are paying unnecessarily high bills will increase trust in their agent’s expertise, strengthening the partnership which can lead to increased retention and recommendations.

Installing smart meters

To support Void Managers in managing accurate billing for their housing stock, we offer a smart meter rollout in partnership with our trusted energy supplier, OVO. By implementing this programme, Void Managers can benefit from more accurate and automated billing methods, eliminating the problem altogether.

These meters provide real-time data on energy usage, ensuring precise monitoring and eliminating errors. Void Managers can make informed decisions about their housing stock and optimise energy usage, leading to fair charges for tenants and reducing administrative burdens of manually collecting meter reads at the start and end of tenancies.

Changeover timing

There can be delays impacting the turnaround of properties between old and new tenants, with typical turnaround times leaving the average property vacant for around one month.

If letting agents incur delays to notify utility companies about tenant changeovers, tenants can be billed incorrectly while landlords or letting agents can be potentially held liable for unpaid bills.

This can also lead to longer term disputes between multiple parties, including energy companies, which could impact the credit rating of the liable party as bills are left unpaid.

Notifications

Managing utilities for a property can be a time-consuming task, especially during the turnover period between tenants. But with utilities notification software, things can be a lot smoother and more efficient right from the day the keys are handed back.

At Helpthemove, we provide landlords with a powerful utilities notification software that streamlines the process and helps reduce void turnaround times by up to 50 percent.

Our software is designed to be user-friendly, making it easy for letting agents to navigate and utilise without any hassle. It’s absolutely free, which is a significant advantage for letting agents and landlords looking to save valuable time and resources.

By using utilities notification software, letting agents no longer need to resort to manual methods of managing utilities. Within a few clicks, they can notify relevant providers about the change in occupancy, ensuring a smooth transition for new tenants.

This not only saves time but also reduces the risk of any disruptions or delays in utility services. The software takes care of the tedious paperwork and ensures that utilities are up and running seamlessly for the new tenants, resulting in faster occupancy and increased satisfaction.

Quality experience

Setting up billing can be quite time-consuming, and when tenants are in the process of moving home, they are likely already overwhelmed with tasks. It’s crucial to ensure a high-quality experience for both tenants and landlords, and one way to achieve this is by ensuring that all parties know their supplier right from the moment they receive their keys.

At Helpthemove, we have created software that enables new tenants to access our dedicated online platform; Love Resident. The platform is designed to support tenants during a move-in, making the process less stressful.

Love Resident not only informs tenants about who supplies utilities for their new home, but it assists them in setting up other essential services such as telecommunications, offering exclusive deals to relevant services without being intrusive.

Tenants can easily navigate through the platform to get all the essential information they need. Knowing their supplier right from the start allows them to proactively manage their bills and avoid any confusion or long waits to reach providers via phone.

Relationship breakdown

The importance of reducing billing errors goes beyond just financial complications. These errors can have far-reaching consequences, potentially damaging the relationships between letting agents, tenants, and landlords. Negative reviews and even legal disputes can arise as a result of billing mistakes.

By implementing effective software solutions that significantly reduce these issues, letting agents can uphold and maintain their positive and trustworthy reputation. Ensuring accurate and transparent billing processes not only instills confidence in tenants and landlords but also demonstrates a commitment to providing a high-quality experience for all involved.

A reliable and error-free billing system helps to foster trust, build strong relationships, and minimise the risk of disputes. It showcases the professionalism and efficiency of the letting agent, giving tenants and landlords peace of mind and reinforcing their confidence in the services provided.

Ultimately, by prioritising accurate billing, letting agents can safeguard their reputation, enhance customer satisfaction, and strengthen their position as a trusted partner in the community and the wider industry.

Learn more about how Helpthemove’s platform supports letting agents in elevating the service they deliver to landlords. Visit our letting agents page today

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