Fair & Easy: Debunking Common Myths About RUBS

Posted by Livable Content Team on Mar 1, 2024 2:39:20 PM


In the rental industry,  utility billing is full of misconceptions, especially among Residents. Master-billed utility costs are often simply divided equally among units, or included with rent, regardless of each Resident’s consumption. But with the emergence of Utility Billing Systems, there is a better option for Property Owners, one that is accurate, transparent and fair.  Even so, Ratio Utility Billing (RUBS) at times faces pushback from Residents due to misunderstandings of purpose, calculation complexity and perceived unfairness.  

The unwarranted pushback leads to hesitation on the part of Property Owners and Managers to utilize the benefits of Ratio Utility Billing Systems. Clarity and understanding of how Ratio Utility Billing Systems work is essential to eliminate pushback on RUBS and enhance its positive impact on conservation - and Housing Provider revenue. 

“RUBS is just taking more money from me!”

One common misconception among Residents is that RUBS is designed to extract more money from them. In reality, the objective of Ratio Utility Billing is to ensure that each Resident pays for what they consume with the added benefit of advancing good conservation efforts. By educating Residents about the rationale behind Ratio Utility Billing and demonstrating its cost-saving benefits through reduced consumption, Property Owners and Managers can alleviate unnecessary pushback. Make sure that Residents know that reducing their own consumption can affect what they pay AND is beneficial for the planet! 

Additionally, involving Residents in the decision-making process and soliciting their feedback can foster a sense of ownership and cooperation. Offering incentives for conservation, such as rewards for reduced usage or energy-efficient upgrades for their own small appliances, can further incentivize participation and mitigate misconceptions.

“RUBS is too complex to understand!”

Another common concern surrounding RUBS is the perceived complexity of calculations. Unlike traditional flat-rate or individual metering methods, Ratio Utility Billing Systems require allocating costs based on a predetermined allocation formula. This can lead to confusion among Residents. However, advancements in computing and tech have streamlined the calculation process, making it more efficient and accurate than ever.

RUBS software can handle complex calculations effortlessly, taking into account factors such as occupancy rates, square footage and baseline consumption levels. By leveraging these tools, Property Owners and Managers can simplify the billing process and provide transparent breakdowns to Residents, enhancing trust and understanding along with conservation efforts for the environment. A good RUBS billing platform will provide that transparency for everyone on the management team and all Residents. 

Investing in staff training and education ensures that property management teams are equipped to handle any questions or concerns related to billing calculations. Clear and accessible documentation outlining the methodology and rationale behind the Ratio Utility Billing Systems can also alleviate confusion and further foster trust among tenants.

“RUBS isn't fair!”

Another misconception surrounding Ratio Utility Billing Systems is the perception of unfairness. Residents may feel that they are being unfairly penalized for the actions of others or that the allocation formula does not accurately reflect their individual usage patterns. 

To address this concern, it's crucial to ensure that the allocation formula is transparent, equitable and based on objective criteria. This may involve engaging with Residents to establish a fair distribution method that considers factors such as household size, occupancy duration and common area usage like watering landscaping, lobby plants and communal pools or hot tubs.  The right allocation method also includes in-unit amenities like dishwashers or laundry machines, so Residents in units without those pay less. By involving Residents in the decision-making process, Property Owners and Managers can foster a sense of ownership and accountability, thereby reducing misconceptions of unfair billing.

Additionally, implementing measures to address discrepancies or disputes, such as regular audits and grievance mechanisms, can enhance the credibility and integrity of the Ratio Utility Billing System. Open communication channels that allow Residents to voice their concerns and provide feedback are essential for maintaining trust and addressing any perceived inequities promptly. Livable's platform, for example, allows Housing Providers to share actual bills with their Residents to maintain transparency and allow Residents to track collective consumption and cost fluctuations or increases in rates by utility providers. 

RUBS offers numerous benefits including reducing costs and promoting conservation. When it comes to Livable’s Ratio Utility Billing System, Housing Providers can offer a goodwill deduction for any reason they choose. Maybe one unit has a sudden occupancy increase like a friend or family member staying for a few weeks. That unit obviously is going to use more water during that time. A Housing Provider can choose to give other Residents a goodwill deduction to offset that shared increase if they choose. A significant water line leak that drives up everyone’s bills might be a reason to offer that deduction. The best RUBS platform offers that flexibility whenever and for whatever reason it’s needed. 

“Livable’s Utility Billing System allows property owner’s to bill Residents with the assurance of an advanced and highly refined system,” says Dan Sharabi, Livable CEO. “We understand that any changes can be confusing and even scary for Residents, so we offer the most transparent billing system possible to make sure they see that they’re being billed fairly, for only their own consumption.”

Addressing misconceptions and concerns surrounding Resident pushback, calculation complexity and perceived unfairness is essential for successful RUBS implementation. By fostering transparency, communication and cooperation among Residents and Property Managers, Ratio Utility Billing Systems can become a viable and sustainable solution for equitable utility billing in multi-tenant properties. 

Save with Livable Pro!


RUBS utility billing ratio utility billing cost recovery