Set point/back thermostats

I would like to know if anyone has any units which they pay the heating for and if they have used any set temperature thermostats to keep the tenants from abusing the gas usage?? We pay gas and some of my tenants turn the heat up to 90 degrees. Yesterday I walked by one apartment which seemed to have the heater running all morning. I knocked, nobody home, maintenance inspection to see if the thermostat was broken and discovered that they had left the glass door wide open when they left for work with the heat set at 85!!! Well I shut off the furnace and they havent even figured out that it is off yet. What other options are there?? How about submetering too? What methods are most effective to keep tenants and offset gas costs??


…and that is exactly why I NEVER buy properties that require me to pay the utilities!


Well Mike*

My building has been in my family for 20 years and it is 41 Units in a nice neighborhood. Most of my tenants are med students or staff at the medical center right across the street. Sorry I dont buy properties for the sole purpose of trying to get foreclosed on.

Sorry I dont buy properties for the sole purpose of trying to get foreclosed on.

Since you’ve owned it for 20 years, hopefully you won’t be foreclosed on! Of course, with 20 years experience with this building, I’m sure that you’ve been dealing with this issue for a long time, so there really shouldn’t be anything new here, except the price of gas, of course.

Good Luck,


Just as an aside: why would you want to keep a tenant like this?

It seems to me that if you ever want to sell this property, sub metering would pay for itself by raising the price that people are willing to pay. Mike is testament to the fact that investors don’t like to pay a full wholesale price for a property that does not have segregated utilities. I don’t think that right now would be the right time to sell real estate, but if the area is strong, you might be able to individually meter these units and do a condo conversion. Either way, individual metering is money which arguably increases the value of the property.

I have one tenant, whom I inherited when I bought a property. I suppose that I could just force her hand and make her sign a new lease agreement which requires her to pay for her gas and electric bill. I suspect that she likes it better this way because she doesn’t want the hassle, or maybe she’s just “not good with money” :rolleyes
I don’t mind because the price that she pays for rent is the same as comparable rents plus her utility bills. If she started to abuse the service, I would just serve her a 60 notice of change in terms of tenancy and jack her rent up to the point that she would want a new lease agreement. The paragraph would look like this:

Your current rent is $950. A new lease agreement will commence on [today +60 days]. It is our pleasure to offer you a choice of the following options:

A 9 or 12 month lease $[market rent]
A month to month lease $[market rent + 20%]

Either way, I would have a lease agreement that makes her pay for her own utilities.