May 17, 2021 Sophie Mullins
Introducing: Our resident billing solution
By the end of 2021, over 15,000 Build to Rent (BTR) apartments across the UK will have their utilities bills provided through our resident billing solution.
Our in-house BTR expert, Tim Stephen, has been giving us the lowdown on what it does and the benefits it provides for landlords and residents alike.
How does it work?
We buy the utilities for all apartments in our clients’ buildings.
By buying in bulk, utilising our supplier relationships and our buying power in the market, we are able to secure better prices than if residents bought utilities for each apartment individually.
We also have a portal, which allows residents to manage their account, set up payment amounts, and help them with budgeting.
What was the inspiration behind it?
We’ve always been embedded in the student housing market. When we were first established, the student housing market was largely based on an all-inclusive model – meaning that utilities were included in the rent payments the students made.
So, we decided that we would get ahead of the curve and think about how utilities could be separated out of the rental bill.
After creating a resident-facing billing system for the Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) sector, we decided to do the same for the BTR sector.
What problem does it solve for landlords?
Landlords outside of our current client base are always telling me: “Look, I don’t want to deal with three, four or five companies. When it comes to utilities, I want to deal with one company who provides me with one bill, and it’s on a subscription payment basis.”
Excitingly, that is exactly what we do.
And how does it benefit the resident?
We make utilities as simple and cheap for the customer as possible.
We know your residents have better things to do with their time than deal with lots of suppliers.
That’s why we do all the leg work: providing them with a bill that groups utilities together, setting up smart technology so we never need manual meter readings, and co-ordinating with the landlord for a seamless onboarding process.
Are there any CSR benefits?
Absolutely. The way our model works allows 100% data from the building to be accessed.
When you have fiscal metres, which can be switched by customers to different suppliers, you lose control of 80% of your data. All that consumption then lies behind those fiscal metres in a private contract between the resident and the supplier.
The rest is landlord supply, which you can report on.
With our model, however, you’re in control of 100% of that data. You’re still guaranteeing the lowest price on the market, but you’re also in control of 100% of the data.
Furthermore, you can report on it and start pointing out to customers that they are high or low energy users within the context of their building.
In a sustainability context, that level of knowledge is really powerful.