Latest stories on rubs

Part 2: Tech Supports Today’s Property Owners for Better Investment Health

Posted by Livable Content Team on Jul 26, 2023 10:51:34 AM

Note: This is part two of our series on technology innovations that help property owners and managers get the most from their investments. 

In part one of our ongoing series, we explored the benefits of Azibo’s online management system and Livable’s platform to recover master-billed utilities. In this edition, we’re going to explore two more amazing online management platforms: Renter Insight and Innago. Renter Insight is perfect for the Housing Provider who wants enterprise-level tools at an IRO-friendly price point, while Innago has a specialized feature that uniquely serves student housing providers. Read on to explore the unique features of these applications and how each can help grow your business. 

Save Money by Encouraging Residents to Conserve Utilities

Posted by Livable Content Team on Jul 14, 2023 10:40:04 AM

As a Housing Provider, managing expenses is an essential aspect of maintaining a healthy return on your investment and ensuring long-term success. One area where costs can add up quickly is utilities, such as electricity, gas, wifi access, sewer, trash collection and - especially - water. Utility costs continue to rise and water bills have shot up dramatically over the last several years in many areas, . 

By encouraging your Residents to conserve any master-billed utilities, you can not only reduce operational costs but also contribute to environmental sustainability. Read on for effective strategies to motivate Residents to conserve utilities, ultimately saving everyone money.

Tech Supports Today’s Property Owners for Healthier Finances

Posted by Livable Content Team on Jul 5, 2023 6:04:53 PM

Note: This is part one of our series on technology innovations that help property owners and managers get the most from their investments. 

Managing properties, whether your own investment or as a fulfilling career, is a lot of work. But property managers today have more options than ever for cost-effective ways to manage that work load more easily and effectively. Improved interfaces, faster applications and cloud-storage options make these tools ever-more-accessible and easy to use.

Follow These Collection Policies to Help You Get What's Owed

Posted by Livable Content Team on Feb 16, 2023 10:25:04 AM

As a Housing Provider, one of the most fundamental responsibilities you have is collecting rent, and in some cases, utility payments from your Residents. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to have Residents who fall behind on their payments for rent and utilities, leaving you to navigate the difficult and often uncomfortable process of collecting those outstanding bills

We know that Housing Providers like you want positive and professional relationships with your Residents.  Unfortunately, those relationships can become strained when it comes to managing late payments. We’ve already talked about best billing practices, but even the best systems and efforts can’t prevent late payments sometimes. To help you maintain positive relationships with your Residents, follow these best practices when dealing with delinquent payments, whether on rent or utilities, to maximize your cost recovery. 

White House Rental Rights Proposal: An Approach to the Affordable Housing Crisis, Controversy Included

Posted by Livable Content Team on Jan 30, 2023 4:06:42 PM

“At Livable, we want to keep residents and property owners up to date on issues that impact everyone in the rental market. We sympathize with tenants having financial issues, especially in the current inflationary climate. But we also recognize that housing providers are investors. Livable helps protect the health of those investments while educating residents on conservation, which saves everyone money and helps the planet.” - Livable CEO Daniel Sharabi

Make RUBS Part of Your Long-term Financial Investment Health Strategy

Posted by Livable Content Team on Jan 29, 2023 10:48:00 AM

AdobeStock_399081787With utility costs continuing to climb while rents and unit demand are dropping, the best way to  improve your bottom line is to implement a ratio utility billing system (RUBS), an inexpensive and easy way to make tenants financially responsible for their usage and incentivize conservation. 

Have a Happier Financial New Year Through Conservation

Posted by Livable Content Team on Jan 5, 2023 10:02:55 AM

2023 is here! Whether or not you set resolutions, it's natural to look for ways to improve your business at the beginning of a new year. This is a great time to think about building and bettering your properties for the sake of your business growth and development. The health of your business is everything. You can't serve tenants without a healthy bottom line.

Softening Rents, Rising Utilities: Boosting Your Bottom Line in a Tougher Housing Climate

Posted by Livable Content Team on Nov 17, 2022 11:30:38 AM

The rental market in the US is in flux. People paying 40% of their income to rent has reached the highest number ever - the recommended proportion is 25 to 30% of income to rent. It's understandable that a market correction is coming, and it appears to be here.

In the face of rising rental prices, more states are discussing rent control measures (including hot spots like Florida and Nevada). October saw the third largest drop in rental market prices since 2010. Housing providers and residents alike are being squeezed by inflation that, while slowing, is still much higher than we've seen in recent years, causing people to stretch every paycheck further.

On top of all of that, conservation concerns and supply/demand dynamics are driving ever-increasing utility costs. From 2010 to 2019, water prices went up by about 60% for a family of four. Electricity costs have spiked recently, partially due to the current crisis in Ukraine. With winter on the horizon, those costs are expected to increase. According to a recent piece on CBS News

"About 20% of U.S. households have missed or made a late payment on their utility bill in the last month, according to a recent Bank of America report. Not surprisingly, families with an income of $50,000 or less are struggling the most to absorb higher energy costs. Geographically, residents of Dallas and Houston are seeing some of the highest utility bill hikes this summer — up 23% when compared to the same period last year.  

Higher energy prices brought on by the Russia-Ukraine war are partly to blame for the late or missed payments, BofA said. Customer utility bills rose about 16% in August compared to the same month a year ago, according to the report. 

The increases are expected to continue this winter as National Grid, Con Edison and other power companies have already signaled their plan to raise prices. The average household will pay about 17% more this winter to heat their property, a 10-year high of about $1,200 per home, the National Energy Assistance Directors Association estimated earlier this month. Electric bills are also set to rise, with the U.S. residential price of electricity expected to climb 14.8 cents, a 7.5% jump from 2021, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration." 

As a housing provider, you want to do the best you can for residents but have to focus on your own bottom line as well. If you've been paying for master billed utilities, even just water, it's in your best financial interest to try to recover some of those costs, especially if you can't raise rental prices to cover them in a softening market. You could switch to individual submeters for every unit you own, but that involves pricey equipment installation - and supply chain disruptions mean it may not be an immediate solution anyway. 

But there is good news! Ratio Utility Billing Systems, also known as RUBS, give you the opportunity to fairly recover up to 90% of the costs for any master billed utilities you pay in your investment properties. That can include electricity, gas, water, wifi, high-speed internet access and cable. With RUBS, you simply provide all the information about your properties and any shared amenities - the algorithms do the rest. You can fairly and accurately share the costs among your residents, based only on what they use. Not only do you recover your costs, but knowing what they are using drives residents to conserve. That's better for their wallets - and yours - and the health of the planet! 

If you're not ready for RUBS (or prevented from implementing it for some reason), a Sample Statement showing residents what they WOULD pay can also drive conservation behaviors, even if they aren't spending any money directly. A study by the EPA showed that the simple act of informing people of the costs of their habits will cause them to reduce consumption by up to 15%! Bonus: What's good for your wallet is good for the planet. 

"RUBS is easy to implement. It takes very little time to get started, and our enrolled housing providers start seeing recovered costs in as little as 60 days. We don't require a minimum number of units to get started, so it's ideal for those with even just 1 unit to manage," says Daniel Sharabi, CEO of Livable. "Sharing accountability for consumption among housing providers and residents helps preserve our precious natural resources at the same time, reducing use of both water and energy." 

"As the rental market continues to be in upheaval, it's in the interest of housing provider to work on recovering master billed utility costs now," Sharabi explains. "Not every market has been affected by a correction yet, but it will happen. The time to get ready is now, especially for independent rental owners with a smaller number of units who don't have the resources of a major corporation behind their investments." 


Smart saver tip of the month

Insulating water pipes is a quick and inexpensive way to lower water-heating costs. The easy upgrade reduces heat loss and allows you to lower your buildings’ water temperature setting by two to four degrees. Plus, since water doesn’t take as long to heat up, less of this precious resource is wasted waiting for faucets and showers to get to the appropriate temperature.

On smaller buildings, this is a definite DIY job that should take less than a day to complete. Check out the U.S. Department of Energy’s website for a comprehensive shopping list and step-by-step instructions.