As a landlord, it can be taxing to manage your tenants’ payments and make sure they pay their utility bills. Even experienced landlords sometimes find themselves asking, “how can I best handle utility payments systematically?”
Well, let us assure you that this issue is not unprecedented. There have been many instances where tenants don’t pay bills until their supply gets cut off. Or worse, they pack up and depart without a word.
It’s time to take control and protect yourself from the predicament of having to pay the outstanding yourself. Be sure to include utilities in the tenancy agreement and charge the fees monthly.
You could also make your tenants responsible for their utilities by making a name change for the utility bills of your rental. This means that you won’t be the one held accountable for arrears — the tenant or their next of kin would be.
With the number of bills to monitor, it can get pretty complicated. Thus, we’re here to explore some practical methods for landlords in Malaysia to master this process.
How to Monitor Your Tenants’ Utility Bills
1. Utilise the myTNB App
As you may know, Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) monopolises our electricity resource in Malaysia. myTNB is a free mobile app where you can access your electricity bills, track energy consumption, and so on.
More importantly, you can monitor your rental property’s outstanding bills and have your tenants make payments online. Plus, you can do this for up to three houses!
All you have to do is download the TNB app and register under your name, IC number, and phone number. If your IC number is registered, it will automatically show your account information. You can then click on “View Bill” to check your monthly electricity bill.
After that, you can link your banking accounts by filling in the credentials and proceed to change the registered account owner’s name to your tenant’s.
For those unsure of how to do it, don’t worry. The app is straightforward to navigate; here’s a step-by-step tutorial by TNB itself.
Another way to protect against irresponsible tenants is simply cutting off their utilities before they rack up the debt. However, make sure you always have everything printed in the tenancy agreement.
2. Check Water Bills with Air Selangor
Now, how do you handle water bills? These utility bills are paid by state rules, so it really depends on the location of your rental property.
But if you live in Selangor, you may use the mobile app Air Selangor which works the same way. Download it on Google Play or the App Store and register with your information. Then, select the registered name and home address to view a summary of your monthly bill.
You can click on any bill to pull up all the details on it. Moreover, you can monitor outstanding bills through Air Selangor’s official portal and check the monthly water consumption trend.
3. Impose Equal Bill Splitting for Room Rentals
Landlords who lease a rental space to several tenants can try the traditional method of manually splitting utility bills. This practice is common amongst younger tenants renting a unit or house together, such as college students or office colleagues.
However, equal bill splitting could turn sour real quick due to disparity in usage. For instance, some might argue that they don’t use as much water or electricity while others take advantage and abuse the utilities.
4. Try an Independent Meter
Another traditional method is using an independent meter to track your tenants’ usage and record it in Excel sheets. Although an outdated practice, it helps observe and keep updated on the electrical use of each rental room.
That way, you could avoid any disputes that might break out from equal bill splitting since everyone is charged individually. The downside is that this involves a lot of manual recording, which can become tedious over time.
Of course, all types of applications grace us in this modern-day, making our lives easier.
Just as tenants have rights, you have the right to protect yourself from unexpected circumstances as a landlord. Contrary to popular belief, you cannot only rely on the tenancy agreement to cushion your fall.
Therefore, it’s essential to stay careful and keep a close eye on what goes on in your rental property.
List Your Property with Rumah-i
Landlords can now list their properties for free on Rumah-i’s Home Renting App available on Google Play and the App Store! Prospects would be able to find your property with ease based on their desired location and sign agreements digitally.