What to know about setting up and covering utilities for your Alcove homes (For all New Homes Onboarding After 8/1/2022)
Starting in August 2022, pricing estimates for new properties will be increased to cover the owner/managers' responsibility and management of utilities. Here's what you need to know:
Owners/Managers are required to set up, manage, and provide timely payment of all utilities necessary to keep the property in a safe, habitable state. Depending on your home's age, design, and setup, this may include
- Sewage / Septic
- Solid Waste Removal and Recycling
- Wifi (minimum of 200mbps)
Additionally, for the integrity of the property and the safety of the tenants, Alcove recommends landlords set up these additional services.
- Monthly or Quarterly Preventative Pest Control
- Lawn Care (mowing and edging)
- Landscaping (e.g. leaf collection, debris and weed removal, mulching, hedge trimming, etc.)
- Quarterly Whole House Cleaning
- Security System*
* Rules for Security Cameras:
- Security cameras may only be positioned outside the home's main doors and should be positioned away from the home so as to record only the comings and goings of tenants, guests, and vendors.
- All tenants have a right to access the live and recorded feeds.
- Landlords must provide tenants with all security alarm codes and clear instructions on how to enable and disable. Tenants are only responsible for non-emergency call fines if they were given the appropriate information to enable and disable the system.
Tenant Utility Payments / Landlord Utility Reimbursements:
Alcove’s estimated property and bedroom pricing for each location factors in the utility cost. Each tenant lease is calculated to include a fixed price to cover utilities. Based on experience, the total amount collected over the year will cover all utilities for the year. Unless a tenant(s) is abusing a certain utility or requests a new/unique utility, there is no need to charge additional fees to tenants for utilities. Additionally, there are utility overage protections to prevent abuse of utilities by tenants. See below for further information.
Setting Up Utilities:
- Schedule Utilities: All utilities should be scheduled to start before the first day of the first lease. The first tenant lease will start 4-5 days after this. This ensures Alcove and any landlord vendors are able to complete all necessary property setup tasks. More info on property setup can be found here
- Fill out and Submit Alcove's Property Utility Confirmation Form
- Communicate your wifi setup plans with the Alcove Landlord Partnership team (Wifi Setup Options)
- Set a reminder for 30 days in the future to confirm you've received your first bill for each utility. Also, Alcove recommends setting up AutoPay to ensure timely payment and non-stop service
Scheduling Setup: Landlords are responsible for scheduling onsite internet setup with their ISP. An Alcove team member may be at the property and able to meet a technician onsite. To find out more email the Landlord Partnership team or ask for more information during your scheduled onboarding call.
Routers: Depending on the service provider your service may include a router. If it does not, or you do not want to rent a router from your internet service provider, Alcove recommends this router or any other similar routers.
Wifi Passcodes: While Alcove has a standard wifi passcode (FindingRoomm8Sucks!) landlords are welcome to set up their own wifi passcode or just use the routers default passcode.
Faster Internet Options: Landlords are welcome to purchase wifi service at speeds of or above 200mbps. This will not change the amount landlords receive in rent payments.
Landlords and Property Managers are 100% responsible for managing and paying utilities. Here's what to know, what to expect, and how Alcove recommends landlords manage their utilities.
Autopay: Setup autopay to ensure consistent timely payments and ongoing service year-round
Paperless Billing: Save the environment and easily export data for better analysis and tracking
Regular Reviews: Make sure to review utility usage on a monthly basis. Doing so can help you quickly identify and resolve issues like water leaks, inefficient appliances, and gas leaks early. If you do see abnormally high usages of a particular service, first reach out to the service provider and request a formal review and check. Then, reach out to your tenants and ask if they are aware of any past or ongoing issues that may be causing this, such as increased use of fans and AC in the summer, toilet bowl constantly running, or a consistently damp part of the yard. Contact the Landlord Partner Support Team should you believe or be aware of purposeful abuse and overuse of a particular utility.
Service Outages: Whether due to planned maintenance, weather, or freak accident utility outages happen from time to time. Most, if not all, utility companies these days have a dedicated outages webpage and will send out emails and texts to notify of planned or recent outages and issues. Another useful site Is The Service Down? which provides real-time status updates on outages and problems for a large number of service providers.
Landlords and Property Managers are 100% responsible for managing and paying utilities. However, there is utility guarantee protection to ensure tenants do not abuse utilities at the property. For properties with 3 or less bedrooms, if the combined utility expense exceeds $300.00 in a given month, the owner can be reimbursed for the overage beyond $300.00. Please be advised, this calculation does not include internet. For example, if combined utility expenses (sewer, water, gas, and electric) for the month totaled $375.00, you would submit all utility bills to firstname.lastname@example.org, once reviewed Alcove would then issue you a reimbursement of $75.00 to your ledger. Utility bills must include the dates of service in order to be eligible for reimbursement. See further utility policy details below:
Utility Reimbursement Threshold (Water, Electricity, Gas, Sewer):
-Properties with 3 bedrooms or less: $300.00
-Properties with 4 bedrooms: $400.00
-Properties with 5 bedrooms: $500.00
-Properties with 6 bedrooms: $600.00
Late Payments and Shut-Offs Mid-Lease:
As previously stated, landlords are responsible for consistent and timely payments. Landlords will be deemed failure to maintain the property if one or more utilities are shut-off due to failure to pay. Landlords are responsible for all utility recovery costs, as well as any housing and lodging costs for tenants during this time. Should this occur, Alcove may jump in to assist. Landlords are accountable for all time and material costs Alcove accrues to resolve utility loss for tenants plus a 25% service fee.