That is the question on the minds of most MHCO members we speak to. As you have likely noticed, the costs of water, sewer, and other utilities has increased exponentially in the last few years for both commercial and residential properties alike. The addition of unrelated or undefined fees, such as street maintenance, base charges, and additional services, has become commonplace. Combine that with careless usage of water by tenants and you have a perfect storm for losing revenue. Since we cannot directly control these increasing costs or the careless usage, it is nearly impossible to try and keep up by using rent increases alone.
Our recommendation is to focus on what you can control: who is directly paying for the utility expense. According to the Alliance for Water Efficiency (http://www.allianceforwaterefficiency.org), the average submetered customer uses up to 20% less than a customer on a master metered system. In our professional experience, we have seen decreases of up to 40%. It is really no surprise that when you transfer the responsibility to the tenant, they instantly become more aware of the leaks and conservation behaviors that they had been ignoring previously. It is just human nature that if something doesn’t cost you anything, you are less likely to be conscientious.
In order to place this responsibility on the tenant and get control of your utility expenses, you need to convert your park to the “Submeter Billing Method” outlined in the Oregon statutes. This can be a daunting task to take on alone, so it is important that you use someone who is an expert. We have spent the last few years immersed in research and have designed Jet Utilities’ Submeter Conversion Program around the laws specific to Oregon. We have consulted the best minds in the business, including many Coalition board members, as well as independent council. We can confidently call ourselves experts in not only regulations and project management, but also in the actual installation of the system. Jet has its own licensed journeyman plumbers who are dedicated to the installation of submeters at mobile home parks. We have the knowledge and experience to handle a park of any size, with any type of plumbing material, anywhere in Oregon, Washington, or California.
We are confident that submetering is the right thing to do for your manufactured home community. The largest obstacle that many owners face after realizing their need to submeter is finding a way to fund the project. Until recently, your choices have been very limited: use your own capital or try and secure financing on your own. Neither of those is very attractive or very easy to do given the current economic state. Jet Utilities’ Submeter Conversion Program offers owners and managers a turn key solution including the funding for the equipment and installation. There are no loans to qualify for, no up-front capital, and no cost to you. How can we do this, you ask? It is simple. We already have the funding for these projects. We simply install an Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) System and utility grade water meters at each space, and then bill you a flat monthly fee that Oregon law allows you to pass directly through to the tenants.
There are some very important laws and regulations that go into the preparation of this as well as the requirement for a Unilateral Amendment to the Rental Agreement which is now available to MHCO members in the "Forms" section of the MHCO website. (MHCO Form 14 - Unilateral Amendment to Rental Agreement for Sub-Metering). This is the first step in preparing for Submeter Conversion.
For more information and a quote for your park, please visit our website www.jetutilities.com or call 1-844-JET-UTIL (844-538-8845) and ask for Erik.