There’s no hard and fast rule about who should pay for utilities in a Dallas-Fort Worth rental property. You can take care of them as the landlord or require your tenants to be responsible for all utility accounts and payments.
It depends on the type of property you’re renting out and whether you want to keep the utilities in your own name. Typically, we see tenants setting up their own accounts and paying their own utility bills, especially when renting out a single-family home, but we know that in some cases, it makes more sense for landlords to control those bills.
When you do decide to make the utilities your responsibility, you’ll then have to decide if you’re going to bill the tenants back for the utilities based on usage or if you’re just going to have a flat charge for utilities every month that’s included in the rental payment.
Here are some of the ways you can structure this.
Put Utility Information in your Lease Agreement
Whether you’re paying for all utilities or none of the utilities, make sure your lease agreement stipulates exactly who is responsible for paying which bills. This will ensure that you and your tenants are on the same page and that everyone understands their responsibilities and expectations.
Discuss the utilities with tenants before they apply for your property. Some tenants will want to move into a home that already has electricity and water. Others will expect to set up or transfer their own accounts.
If you’re not sure where to find a good lease agreement that complies with the Texas Property Code and reflects utility payments and other pertinent information, we can help.
Utilities and Dallas-Fort Worth Rental Property Types
Tenants are generally responsible for establishing their own utility accounts and paying the bills for electricity, gas, trash, and water when they rent a single-family home in Dallas-Fort Worth. This keeps things simple, especially since there are no communal spaces and no collective use of water or lights. Residents who rent single-family homes often expect they’ll have to call the electric company and the water company to set up service.
With multi-family properties, things are a little different. Landlords will often cover the cost of utilities for a building and then either bill back the amount that’s due to each tenant based on usage, or just charge a general and consistent flat fee every month for water, electricity, trash, and sewer costs.
If you want to keep the utility bills in your own name, you’ll have to bill the tenants separately for what they use or roll that amount into the monthly rent. Evaluate what you’re spending every month and make adjustments when the lease renews. You might find you’re spending more than what you’re charging your tenants.
Cable, Internet, and Additional Services
While a rental property is not habitable without water and electricity, additional services like cable, internet, and smart home technology are optional services that most tenants can decide whether they need or don’t need. Landlords in Dallas-Fort Worth are under no obligation to provide free cable or internet to their tenants. This will be up to them to decide.
Sometimes, these services are offered as an incentive to attract tenants. Maybe you’ll include the first six months of internet service, for example. Or, you’ll provide basic cable and then your tenants can pay to upgrade their television package if they so choose.
We’re willing to talk about our experience as professional Dallas-Fort Worth property managers when it comes to utilities and rental property management. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Assign Property Management.