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Should utility bills be included in the rent?

When the owner of a property or an estate agent rents out a flat, they must consider whether to include the utility bills, such as water, electricity, service charges and other expenses in the rent or not. Which expenses and bills are recommended to be included? What are the advantages for tenants and owners? Would it be better to leave this responsibility to the experienced consultants at Engel & Völkers?  


Bills to be included in the rent

The main expenses of a flat are:

  • Electricity, water and gas. 
  • Communal charges.
  • IBI (property tax) 
  • Home insurance 
  • Waste disposal rates 


These expenses can be divided into two groups: fixed expenses and variable expenses. 


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The fixed ones are communal charges, IBI, waste disposal, the insurance and in most cases, water. If the water bill is higher than usual due to high consumption, the payment will not be added to the rent and instead the bill is passed to the tenant. 

In the case of variable expenses, especially electricity, it is risky to include the monthly bill in the rent because consumption tends to vary significantly both in winter and in summer. However, there are landlords who do include the bill in the rent if they have an alternative heating system such as gas, as the monthly amount doesn't differ too much. 

Another heating system is the one that uses electric accumulators that take advantage of timers where the cost per watt is lower, thus reducing the electricity bill significantly and maintaining the same amount throughout winter. 

As for the electricity costs in summer, the owners also have to count on the variation of the expenses especially because of the use of air conditioning system. 


Given the complexity that can be presented to an owner when it comes to calculating the cost of electricity throughout the year, the figure that the agent comes up with becomes very important and their services are more of an investment than an expense. In fact, Engel & Völkers, thanks to its many years of experience, provides qualified professionals to carry out this advice effectively. 

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Advantages of including communal expenses in the rent 

In addition to including the fixed expenses in the rent, if the help of estate agents in calculating the utility costs is sought, the advantages will be even greater: 


A description that states "Electricity and water bills are included" makes the flat rental ad much more attractive to tenants and it better competes with other ads. Together with the inclusion of fixed expenses, including the variables help tenants to organise themselves better financially. 

For the owner or estate agent, the management of the rent will become simpler: every month he receives a fixed amount from the tenant and has his expenses paid directly. If the property has a heating system such as the aforementioned gas, the owner can help tenant save even more money by installing energy-efficient lights. 

Finally, we must also be realistic and mention the disadvantages of including variable expenses in the monthly rent. These relate to the fact that the cost of water, electricity and gas tend to skyrocket in certain months and reduce the rental profit margin for the landlord. However, this type of situation has a solution in the form of rental agreement's terms and conditions. For this, it is always advisable to seek the help of agents who can create contracts where, for example, a clause is included where the owner calculates the cost of the variable expenses as long as they do not exceed a certain amount. 

We will finish this article by reminding the owners that in order to manage the rent or even the sale of their property, they can count on the services of the Engel & Völkers real estate agency. This company's many years of experience and having managed a wide variety of rental and sale contracts allow clients to always get the most personalised and appropriate service.

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