MCFA 32 | Increasing Your Cashflow

 

As business owners, any possible way to increase your cashflow is definitely good news. Being good to the environment while doing this is just a bonus thrown in. The Account Executive of Livable, Sarah Hoverson, talks to Athena Paquette Cormier to share how her company can help out in saving on utilities without the hassle of sub-metering, tearing up walls, city permits, and cash outlay from you. She also explains how their software and service work on a technical level while showing the numbers on the savings it can give you.

Listen to the podcast here:

Increasing Your Cash Flow Through Proper Utility Cost Management With Sarah Hoverson

I had the great pleasure of chatting with Sarah Hoverson, a business development executive for Livable.com. Welcome, Sarah. Thanks for joining us.

Thank you so much.

I’m sure you are all dying to know about how we can increase our cashflow on rental properties by 5% to 10% or more without digging into our pocketbooks to do it. With Sarah’s company’s help, it seems like that’s a dream come true to be able to do that. Without digging into the walls, floors, ceilings to re-pipe or separate meters, re-meter, submeter, we’re going to be able to maximize our cashflow. First of all, Sarah’s company is called Livable.com, which is a great word. I’m curious how they came up with that to relate with cashflow and utilities. Maybe you can address that. Tell us briefly how does Livable helps us do this?

Let me first give you a little background about Livable. We have been in business for years. We’re based out of San Francisco. We were founded by property owners and investors who needed a solution for their own properties. They knew that tenants were being wasteful and if they tied tenants’ usage to their wallets, that they would use less. We came up with the name Livable because it does have a tie into the conservation and environmental aspect because when everyone uses less, obviously that’s better for the environment.

We’re a software company. What we do is we take a master metered utility bill, that’s primarily water, sewer, and trash. In some cases, we can also do gas and electric and even some amenities like pest control, landscaping, and if there was Wi-Fi across the property. We divide the bill based off of an hour occupancy factor. For water, sewer and trash, we need to know how many people are living in each unit that is consuming water and producing trash. For gas and electricity, if it was in unit gas and electricity, properties, the tenants have their own account with the utility provider. They’re going to pay for their gas and electricity directly. In some older properties, there might only be one meter. The fairest way than to allocate for gas and electricity would be by square footage, so what’s the price of the space that’s being heated or lit. We take those things into account.

We also know that if someone has a washer and dryer in the unit, they’re going to use about 30% more water than their neighbor. If they have a dishwasher in their unit, they’re going to use about 20% less than their neighbor that’s hand washing dishes. We take all these things into account. Also, what else is going on at the properties? Is there a main pool, sprinkler system, landscaping? Some of your garden style communities might have a lot of landscaping. Obviously, that’s going to affect your water usage, common areas, and laundry room. All of those things are taken into account. We divide the bill and we can either bill your tenants through our platform. We have a resident’s platform where the tenants can log in. They can view their bill and allocation tables. It’s transparent.

They can pay us and we can reimburse you, or if you use property management software like Yardi or AppFolio. We can either integrate or provide the charges to you that you be easily imported and you can collect the utility payment at the same time as your rent payment. That would be a faster turnaround time for getting money back in your pocket. What we can do is build back for it up to 90% of the utility bill. You’ll still be responsible as the owner of 10%. That covers a goodwill deduction and a common area deduction and the physical common area spaces. It’s also for discrepancies or things that might happen month over month, like an unreported change in occupancy, an unreported leak. There’s work being done at the property. Someone is traveling for a week or someone else has a guest for two weeks. Those are variables that we can’t track and have to account for. We do so in the form of deductions.

If I’m hearing you right, the 10% that you’re withholding or leaving on the property manager, that’s to account for those differences. Is that right? It’s like contingency.

Exactly, and that’s to know that we’re never overcharging any property. That’s protection.

Are you going by the square footage of the property?

It’s for gas and electricity. The other utilities, which we primarily build back for water, sewer, and trash are based on occupancy. How many people are living in each unit, and that includes minors, babies are also using water. Toddlers take a lot of baths and produce a lot of trash.

You can cover almost any kind of utility but you have to assess for the property owner, which ones will make sense and which ones won’t.

It’s not a cookie-cutter and it’s tailored to your specific property. That’s what exactly is the situation in your property. What you need to know is your bills can be essentially reduced by 90%. I know that water in California is expensive. I’m sure you have a wider audience, but those line items are probably some of the largest line items in terms of your operating expenses.

Depending on who your service provider is.

Rates go up.

The city versus the Big D.

On the environmental aspect, when everyone uses less, that's better for the environment. Click To Tweet

Another thing, going back to the conservation angle, a study done by the EPA showed that making tenants aware of their water usage mainly resulted in a 15% decrease in usage. That’s not even making them pay for it. That’s showing tenants, “This is how much you’re using and this is how much it costs.” Most renters don’t have that information. They’ve never seen their water bill. They don’t know how much it costs. It’s out of sight, out of mind. Knowledge is power. A lot of renters or tenants when they see that month over month and they see like, “My usage impacts my bill.”

It’s a little bit of green guilt.

When you do charge tenants, we see a thing in business for years, we have loaded historical data that shows that once a program like this is in place, usage goes down by up to 30%. Even tenants change their habits. They are more mindful. There is a community around conservation. We’re all in this together.

Is there a minimum number of units that are required? Obviously, you can’t have one house that has one bill.

No, we don’t have a unit minimum.

Two units could work? To share with everyone, I sent a report to Sarah on a fourteen-unit building and on a three-unit building to see how that would help. We’d love to go through some numbers and crunch them with you to see how this works. Could a duplex work?

Absolutely, 100%. We have tons of duplexes that we service. One of our differentiators as a company is we don’t have a unit minimum. Amongst our competitors, they might have a 20 or 50-unit minimum. Our founders and owners of the company recognize that a huge portion of the market was being under-serviced and didn’t have access to this type of program. That’s also why our company was so attractive to many of the apartment associations in the state of California. We’re in a few other states and their apartment associations as well. Independent owners, at least in California make up about 70% of the rental market. They’re huge for bringing this to them and not only putting money back in their pockets but also promoting conservation.

Tagging on that, I have investors all across the country. Some are in other countries and they invest here, but the properties are all across the country. Can you share with us which states you’re already in or doing business in? Also, maybe which ones you’re planning on working in?

We have properties all over the West Coast. Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, New York, Florida and I believe Texas.

That’s a good spread. I’m wondering why the coast. Is that because utilities are more expensive on the coast than Indiana or Pennsylvania?

That’s probably part of it. It also tends to be more progressive on the coasts and this industry is widely accepted. They’re ahead of the curve there. In the Midwest, it’s picking up steam. It’s not as popular as it tended to be on the coast.

It may be a cost-benefit thing to maybe utilities are less expensive than the Midwest possibly.

Potentially it’s a different rental market. I have tenants that maybe are more used to having everything included.

I invest in Indiana. In Indianapolis in the city, it’s mostly the case where the tenant pays all utilities. Rarely does the landlord pay the utilities. Maybe that’s why it’s not a good market, but also utilities aren’t too expensive. They’re not the same as here and in Indianapolis.

That’s funny you mentioned Indianapolis because we signed on a property there. It’s an investor in California that listed property there. She said that that was common in the area that he’s in. The nine out of ten buildings in the neighborhood are going to be building back via a RUBS Program. They’re still old buildings. They’re not going to take the time to submeter and I would like to touch on submetering. The alternative to what we do, which is called the acronym is RUBS. It stands for Ratio Utility Billing System.

It’s using a ratio system. The alternative would be submetering. That’s where you’re going to go into a building and install separate submeters to read the actual usage for water. Typically, gas and electricity are already submeters, but for water, we’re going in and doing that. That’s definitely the fairest way because you’re using actual usage data and you’re cross-referencing that to the utility bill. You can say, “For sure, this is how much.” You can pass through 100% of the charges because you know what it is.

You have actual data and you can prove to them what they used.

MCFA 32 | Increasing Your Cashflow

Increasing Your Cashflow: If you have habitual tenants who are always late with payments, it helps to have a property manager because they’re the ones who have a relationship with the tenants.

 

Where submetering becomes prohibitive is in the upfront cost to the owner. In California, I’ve seen between $800, $1,000 to $1,200 per unit to submeter a property. That’s a huge upfront cost. A lot of times you have to go through no permit, go to the Weights and Measures Department. That could take a long time and be more expensive and you have to pay for the hardware. Also, not all buildings are going to support submeters. If there are old pipes, wacky setup, and pipes going every which way, it could not be feasible so this is more of a turnkey solution. You could give a 30-day notice to your tenants and have this up and running in 30-days. It’s a lot quicker time frame to get going and the time frame to get money back.

Submetering is where you’re actually putting an appliance that is measuring the usage somehow. I don’t know the engineering part but I know there’s a company out there called Metron. They have this thing that goes to the satellite. It sounds fantastic but you pay a fee for each unit so that can add up. I thought it was more like $2,000 per unit on that.

It could be. It depends on the type of meter that you use. We can still handle the billing. Even if you do go the submetering route, you’re still going to need someone to be doing that billing and collecting from your tenants. We have a lot of buildings that we do the submeter billing for. We do not involve in selling the hardware and having that installed. If you want to go the submeter route, it’s easy to get submeters that have remote transceivers. That way, our team can pull that data remotely. No one physically read the meters every month, we can pull that via Wi-Fi and collect that data.

You would be like a third party billing that you send out the bill so the property manager is not necessarily having to get involved with billing people and all that kind of stuff.

You definitely wouldn’t have to. That is the more popular version of the program is for Livable to handle everything end to end. You’re still going to pay your bill obviously, but we can download it on your behalf. We can divide it. We visit the tenants, we make collection efforts on your behalf if tenants are late. You get either a check in the mail or direct deposit from us each month. The other alternative though was to still build through a property management software. If you’re collecting rent electronically, and you want to have another line item on their rent check for utilities, in that case, there’s a little bit more involvement on the property management side because they would now be keeping track of who’s paid and who hasn’t.

That’s what they don’t want to do. They’re asking, “Do they want to or do they not want to?” “No, they do not want to do that.” What I’m thinking or feeling is that there’s also neutrality that it’s a third-party business that’s saying, “We’re billing you for your utilities. Here they are.” It seems like that’s also a good thing for the relationship.

They’re paying a third party. It’s funny how many tenants actually think that we are a utility company.

I would think so because it looks fancy online and it looks official.

They log in and they see all their bills. It does insulate the property manager from having to field any questions. We do have a full customer support team. Even if the tenant did have a question about their bill, the program, the property manager, will direct them to our team to answer.

Do you have people that speak different languages there to assist?

We have English and Spanish.

If someone fails to pay their bill, how soon do you notify? What’s the interaction to try and get them to pay? What happens there?

If Livable’s collecting from the tenants, at any time the property manager, the owner can log into their portal, the TM portal, and they can see who’s paid and who hasn’t. The bills go out on the 2nd and they’re due by the 16th. We recommend logging in around the 18th of the month and seeing who’s paid and who hasn’t. If there are habitual bad actors that are always late, it does help to have a property manager involved because they are the ones that have the relationship with the tenant. We advise being proactive versus waiting for our team. While we do make collection efforts, we are not a collection agency. The statistic is that 30% of Americans pay their bills late.

The first missed payment or late payment, we assess a late fee. It’s more like a traffic ticket for them. It’s like, “You better pay.” We end up waiting a lot of the time. They call in and make a payment. After the second missed payment is when they get a call or an email from our team. We’ll do our best to prompt payment. After the second missed payment, the property manager or the owner gets a notification from us. That information is available at all times in the portal. We also have a delinquency notice so we provide all sorts of forms. We have a lease addendum that you’ll include with all new leases, a 30-day notice. A welcome letter that explains the program and puts that in the light of conservation, but also a delinquency form. If there’s someone that’s late and you want to act on that, you can easily print out that delinquency form and a copy of their bill and post it a door or near their mailbox. It pays to be proactive versus reactive. That’s essentially what we do. I know that in rent-controlled markets, utilities are considered part of the rent.

How does that work with rent control if someone has a building here in Los Angeles or any other rent control area? What would be the process of their hiccups or to watch out things for if you want to convert to this system with the rent control building?

If you did consider utilities as part of rent control, you would have the ability to evict due to the nonpayment of utilities. In what I’m going to call prior rent control, prior to AB-1482, which took effect on January 1st, 2019. The markets like Los Angeles, San Francisco, a lot of the East Bay, you can only implement this program on new tendencies. You have to wait for a vacancy and you also have to set a not to exceed rate for the utilities. That’s open-ended. It doesn’t have to be subject to the cap rate. Say that you had a one-bedroom in San Francisco for $2,500 because that’s how crazy it is there and you put the cap rate for the utilities as $250 which is more than it would expect to be. I would say your utilities for one bedroom, one person living there in San Francisco depending on how many utilities you’re billing back for here is $75 to $100. You’re going to two and a half times that. Let’s say you set it at $250 for utilities that give you room to grow if utility costs increase. Whenever you do your rent increase the following year, instead of doing your rent increase, which is pretty low in San Francisco, instead of basing that off of the base rent, which was $2,500, you actually get to base it in the utility costs so now it’s $2,650 that you get to increase off of.

That’s a benefit for sure. It’s the same with other rate control markets. The only delay here is that we have to wait for vacancies but we’re used to that, especially being based out in San Francisco. Sometimes a building comes on and it’s 50 units, there’s one vacancy. It might take 5 or 10 years depending on how long people are going to stay in their units to have the whole building onboarded. The idea is that there are lots of ways to go about and to roll it out by maybe only passing through a percentage of the bill or waiting until you have 50% of the building that you could turn the program on.

Any independent owner should be up to date with legislation and things that change. You definitely don't want to have a tenant sue you. Click To Tweet

Let me go back to AB-1482. The entire state of California is rent-controlled. However, AB-1482 there was no mention made of utilities. In San Francisco and Los Angeles, they explicitly talk about utilities and ordinances there. It’s not the case. It’s a gray area and it’s open to interpretation. We have a lot of new clients coming on that are going business as usual. They’re giving their 30-day notice, not putting a cap on the amount of utilities that they’re passing through. They’re doing this in addition to doing a rent increase over the full amount. That is an option. The other more conservative option would be to put a cap on the amount of utilities of the 5% plus CPI for your area so you know that there’s no question from the tenant of, “It could be considered an illegal rent increase.”

The benefit to including utilities as part of the rent is you have the ability to evict due to nonpayment of utilities. If you have someone that’s not paying their bills, you want them out of there. The only drawback would be having to put a cap and we’re going to run some numbers for you. We could maybe determine that your utility costs for the unit are only going to be $100 but your allowable rent increase is $50. You could do a combination of the two. It’s still like early stages. I know that there are lots of ways to interpret. It’s a business decision that owners will need to on their own. I don’t know if or when there will be any clarification on the bill in relation to utilities. Our guidance is to talk to your attorney. If you want to take the conservative route, you can, if not, we have tons of people that are signing up and going the old way, which was serving a notice and getting it right.

What does your service cost? Are there levels? Is there a number of units you need for a certain level? What’s the cost structure of doing this?

We have a tiered pricing structure and it’s based on the total number of units in your portfolio. Even if you might be starting with one building with fifteen units but you have 250 units across your portfolio. We’re going to give you that rate because we hope that you’re happy with our services and over time, you bring on the rest of your buildings. With that being said, we charge a monthly account maintenance fee so it’s a charge per unit, but for the units that are enrolled in the program. If you’re starting with a handful of units in a building, we’re starting for those. The classes range from $5 to $10 per unit based on the number of units in your portfolio. You have discounts for members of the apartment associations that we have a partnership with, which include some city associations like Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles, San Francisco Apartment Association. There are six regional associations across the state. We are excited to announce that we have a partnership with AOA.

Maybe we’ll see you at the convention thing?

You will. We will be there.

I saw your info in the Apartment Association, California Southern Cities.

It’s right along Long Beach. We have discounted options, which is the lowest service fee per unit. The great thing about this program is you can actually pass through a portion of that cost all up to $5 to the tenant. We could eventually be a free service to you. It’s a no brainer, especially if you are passing that cost through. Even if you’re passing the cost of the tenant or absorbing the $5 fee over the long run. It’s definitely going to work in your favor.

Could you quickly walk us through in broad strokes of what’s the process? Let’s say I called you and said, “I have this building,” from that conversation to things being switched over. What are the steps that you want someone to go through to get to the point where they’re getting money?

We essentially need three pieces of information from you to set up the account on our end. There’s a service agreement, a new building form. That’s where we gather information about the property and unit details where we get information about the tenants. How many people are in each unit, number of the unit, the amenities and if there are caps that you’re going to be including. We set up the building on our end and you tell us who’s going to be on the program. Are you enrolling the entire building with a 30-day notice? Maybe only half of the building is coming on because the other half is in annual agreements. Maybe control and you’re only starting with five vacancies. Usually, you tell us who’s coming on board. Say that you did serve a 30-day notice for a March 1st start date.

In March, that means that we start tracking the bills. We have to wait until we receive the bill in April for March usage. Whenever we get the bill in April, we’re going to do our allocations, generate the statements and the bills are going to go out to the tenants on May 2nd. They have two weeks to pay and they pay by the 16th. We do keep our books open because a lot of tenants pay late. We close our books at the end of the month and you get reimbursement from us in June. There is an initial delay in getting started because we bill in arrears. After that, it’s pretty much on a monthly basis, you’re getting a check from us for the previous two months.

It’s autopilot after that. You get our data, 30-day notices go out, and you track the actual bill and the thing, so that’s a month and you start building them for their portion. That’s month three, and then month four is when the owner of the building starts seeing their reimbursements.

That’s if Livable that’s collecting. If you’re collecting directly from the tenants, you would get that a month early because it wouldn’t have to go through us.

I don’t know who would be so controlling that they want to control that? You gave us a monthly thing, but is there a setup cost of some kind?

There is a setup cost and that is going to also be determined on whether or not you have an association referral. It’s waived if you remember the association.

They better join the association quickly.

There are a lot of benefits to joining associations. We are in some other states as well in their associations, but as a pitch to them. For any independent owner, it’s so important to be up to date with legislation and things that change. You definitely don’t want to be brought in front of a renter or border or have a tenant sue you. I’m such a huge advocate for the associations. If you’re not a member of an association, there is an initial setup fee. It’s extremely low. It’s $49. It’s waived for association members. After the programs are up and running, it’s pretty hands-off for you. The only thing you do is notify the move in, move out, or change in that occupancy number. That’s how we do our calculations.

MCFA 32 | Increasing Your Cashflow

Increasing Your Cashflow: If you consider utilities as a part of the rent in rent control, then you would have the ability to evict due to nonpayment of utilities.

 

Do ask for a census once a year from people or is it depending on the landlord to provide any changes as they occur?

As they occur because we’re using that data each month to do the charges and it’s important that it’s up to date.

We’re going to jump over to my properties so we can use some real examples and go to your website. What do we do first?

Go to Livable.com/calculator.

We’ve got a screen that says Livable.com/calculator. It’s a simple thing. It’s fill in the blanks.

It’s a pro forma calculator. We can actually put in your previous month’s utility bills and generate some estimates for you.

This first screen is how many units have zero residents, how many units have one resident. It says, “Please add at least two units with residents.”

I went ahead and tallied those up for you. You said you had a vacancy. That’s not going to be accounted for because there’s not going to be any usage there. How many units have one resident there? There were eight. How many units have two residents? There were two, and there are three that had three residents.

We’re talking about a fourteen-unit building that I own in Long Beach and there are fourteen units but thirteen are occupied. I entered that and there’s no Save Button.

Click down on the bottom right, enter Utility Bills, that’s step two. I’m not going to do a common area and water. We’re going to do electricity, gas, water, sewer, and trash. There were five bills. You want to do that drop down and put five. Let’s do the first one which is electricity and put $722.

Do you have to take the zero out?

That would be on the safe side. Have water and sewer together. Let’s do four bills instead.

Can I change it and not wipe myself out?

I think so. Water was $176 and gas was $369.

I sent you the year-end statement. Is this for one month or year-end statements?

Those were year-end statements?

You can take the monthly column or the year-end. This looks like a monthly bill to me because my electricity bill is pretty high over there.

In rent-controlled markets, utilities are considered to be part of the rent. Click To Tweet

That makes sense.

You’re doing this in a monthly thing.

Trash was $90.

My question was your screen is asking the monthly amount so people should type in their monthly amounts.

It’s $290 and click three. Generate the tenant allocations.

There’s a screen with these boxes. One says electricity. Each utility has its own little analysis with the number of people we typed in in the beginning.

The second column where it says Estimated Utility Charge is going to be the tenant’s responsibility for that particular utility and the next column, the Monthly Statement Amount is going to be their total charges. The eight units that had one resident a piece could expect to pay about $83 a month for each of the utilities. The units with two residents, what does that say?

$132.65.

The units with three residents are $157.52.

What this does is the first column is taking that utility, and the second column on all of these is adding each utility adding the total up for them.

If you scroll down a little bit, you’ll see that those deductions were taken into account. The common area deduction and goodwill detection. You can see the amount that was given to the tenants so that allocated tenant portion, that’s your recovery amount.

You’re getting $649 back on the electric bill out of the $722. You mentioned that they’re going to cut off 10% for the variations or fluctuations, the fairness buffer.

That is 90% of this bill.

If I’m adding these up the tenant portion, the electric bill is going to be $650 and the water is going to be $150, so we’re at $800. My gas bill is $332 and $261 on trash. We were at $811.30. That’s $1,400. The guesstimate of getting 10% back is right because the gross rents are right around $13,000 gross rent in that building.

If you multiply that by twelve, you’re looking at about $16,800.

When I calculate the value of that and cap rates are low in Long Beach, but that adds let’s say $16,000 divided by 4. Those cap rates are like CD rates. $16,000 more and income is about $200,000 more in value when you go to sell it. That’s incredible.

That’s one of the benefits. Sometimes I talked to people that were interested in the program but they’re like, “I’m planning to sell it in a couple of years. I don’t think it’s worth it.”

MCFA 32 | Increasing Your Cashflow

Increasing Your Cashflow: If you’re collecting electronically, there’s a little bit more involvement on the property management side because they’d be keeping track of who has paid and who hasn’t.

 

It’s worth it because especially with rent control being enacted. Some people left their rents too low and can’t catch up. They’ve affected the value of their property and their assets not worth as much as the guy down the street that kept up with rents. This is a way to squeeze a little bit more out of it.

It’s putting money back in your pocket every month but also sharing accountability with the tenants. I will say another thing, about RUBS in general in California. There are only two places in California that have outright banned RUBS, that’s Santa Monica and San Jose. Otherwise, it’s still perfectly legal everywhere and we don’t think it’s going to go anywhere. We believe that thought that Senate Bill No. 7 which was passed in 2017, states that all new multifamily buildings built after January 1st, 2018, have to be submetered for water and the tenants have to pay for water. They don’t have an option.

That was the state’s idea to be green to force people to be more conscientious with their usage.

We’re in a drought state for several years and around that time. They knew that tenants were being so wasteful with their water. The trend is statewide and eventually, everyone will be paying for their water. That’s why I know this program is valuable from many different perspectives. Texas has statewide legislation surrounding RUBS. It’s all regulated. It’s easier to maneuver in Texas doing this versus California because here it’s like the wild west. Each municipality is on its own. The state will go that way and have a more streamlined approach to RUBS. Having been in business for years in a rent-controlled market, we consider ourselves to be experts.

Is there a way for people reading or any potential client to save these little worksheets so that when they call you you’ve got data already? Could they do a screenshot and save it?

I would do a screenshot or potentially print and scan something. Because it’s live, there’s no way to save it. You can play around with these and I’ll tell you a benefit to doing this not only from your perspective to say this is how much I could potentially save. When you introduce this program, the first question tenants are going to ask is, “How much are adults going to be?” You will be able to give them an educated guess. The heat fluctuates month over month, depending on their usage and the seasons but you can give them this as a starting point. You also want to take this into consideration when you’re pricing your marketing unit. You don’t want to price at the top of the market plus utilities. You do want to offset the base rent a little bit to account for this.

In Long Beach, because I know Long Beach but other places too, a lot of people have that. They have that in their own minds baked in the utilities into the rent. If your neighbor doesn’t have them baked into the rent, their rent might be lower so you’ve got to take that into account to stay competitive. On the triplex, because Long Beach has its own utilities and all that. On tiny buildings, we were talking about this. The water and sewer expense on a three-unit is like $422 every other month, so it’s $2,600. That’s a pretty good chunk too. You still think for $200 a month or whatever that would be worth?

I do. Especially because those utility rates are going to continue to go up. They’re not going to go down. You know that you’re going to be capped at the amount that you can increase your rent. This is a way to parse out that variable expense.

What other things can people find on the website?

Go to Livable.com. What I’m going to guide you to is how to get in touch with me.

Your website, it’s got single-family, multifamily, and condo. We didn’t talk about that. You can help an HOA too?

We can. Obviously, the master terms would need to be amended. The majority of the board needs to be on board. We work with HOA and condos. We do commercial but it’s a mixed-use commercial. There’s a commercial property with the residential above it. Of course since multifamily but also single-family. There are a lot of investors that have single-family portfolios. Instead of having their renters put all the utilities in their name and potentially have penalties for not paying. There are a lot of reasons why you might want to use a third party. What we can do is aggregate all the bills in one place and the tenants can log in one place and pay. The owner has a little more oversight into the usages to make sure they’re paid. Also make sure that, for example, leak detection. What if the tenant has a sky-high bill? There’s a slab leak or something that they’re not reporting. There are a lot of insights available if you have that.

In some markets that we’re in if the tenant doesn’t pay the utilities, it’s the owners’ responsibility to keep on paying them and chase them. Some municipalities have laws that the tenant can never be out of it without utilities, even if they were supposed to pay. This helps you track if they did or not.

If you go to the top right, essentially, this is where you, as an owner, would go to the manager login. The residents would also go here to log into their portal and view everything. The tenants can contact us. That’s an easy way to reach out to me. There should be a way to talk to sales. You can access my calendar easily. At the bottom, you see all the associations that we are parted with.

They should sign up with one of these as soon as possible.

I recommend it 100%. The benefits of having an apartment association guidance are helpful.

You don’t know what you don’t know until you step too late. Thanks for sharing that with us. If someone wanted to get ahold of you to talk over their properties or maybe wanted to send you information, is there a phone number and email that would be good to reach you at?

My email is Sarah@Livable.com. My direct phone number is (949) 424-6606. I’m in and out all the time doing things. If I still don’t answer you can still get in touch with the 877 number that’s on the website, and they can connect with you.

Thank you so much for joining me, Sarah. This has been so enlightening. You and I’ve spoken and we’re going to get this together hopefully and do Florida. My Florida portfolio has been taken over by a manager, but as soon as she’s got that stabilized and will enact to this because it adds value to your property. It does cut down on wasteful usage. It was brilliant that you mentioned that if you have a leak a lot of times, tenants won’t say anything. A lot of times they don’t know because it’s outside or underground or what have you. It does help detect problems way sooner than would be another way.

If they do know about a leak, they’re going to report it a lot faster. They’re going to report if they have a leaky toilet. They’re not going to let it run.

They don’t want that on them. That’s a fabulous thought right there because that is an issue. A problem left undetected or unhandled can become a huge disaster. It costs tens of thousands instead of a small amount for a plumber to fix. It’s brilliant. I love that idea.

Thank you so much for having me.

Thank you so much for joining me. Do you have any parting thoughts?

I can’t wait to get you and your properties onboarded, get into new markets and spread the word and provide value for your readers. Thank you so much.

Thank you to the Livable founders for creating this. Thank them on our behalf. We’re excited.

I will. It sounds good.

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