The growth in PRS over the next 5 years, accelerated by the ‘dash for PRS’ as an asset class for investors, is rapidly driving a number of developments in the UK. This is prompting a rethink of the set-up of things like utilities; in particular electricity, as this is the most expensive fuel with the most inflationary pressure.

In light of this, having the option to run a fully inclusive bill platform, or be able to charge for the over-usage of electricity, is an essential consideration. Any over-charges in utilities rent will damage the cash yield and ultimately de-value the asset at sale.

Developments in the industry mean there are now more innovative ways to manage the utilities rent within PRS schemes. Comm:unity has been designed to provide the most future-proof solution towards operational excellence for any owner, operator or fund.?

This is especially important, as new regulations being introduced for 2018/19 stipulate that in scenarios where the end tenant is charged for their utilities in some way, heat networks have to be sub-metered down to the individual tenant’s unit. In other words, you cannot apportion a charge based on the total bill and number of units in the building…

Innovation: Comm:unity

Comm:unity has been built to provide a unique solution to buying energy in community groups, while allowing tenants to pay for their individual use.

The new technology combines the best aspects of more traditional models - a central meter coming into the building from which you buy your energy at scale – with the ability to sub-meter to tenants and charge directly for their utilities.

This pioneering approach gives you the flexibility and choice of how you bill your tenants, helping you adapt the building to maximise its potential.

From a construction point of view, the change is that sub-metering needs to be installed on any utilities that you wish to re-charge the tenants for; this could be heat, electricity, gas or water, depending on the building set-up.

The additional metering may increase capital costs during the build phase, but it provides crucial visibility of over-usage and allows fore-charging. As such, the return on investment is typically within 5 years – this is often accelerated to 3 years in contemporary developments.

Comm:unity is therefore ideally suited to new builds, as it can lower the collective cost of energy by up to 30%.

You can find out more about Comm:unity by contacting Adam Taylor on 02038 580 025.