Smart meters for landlords
Smart meters can help your tenant better understand their energy use at home. Request one for your property today.
WHAT IS A SMART METER?
A smart meter is the next generation of a gas and electricity meter. With a smart meter, you can wave goodbye to estimated billing. The smart meter's in-home display shows your energy usage in near-real time, and uses a secure smart data network (managed by the DCC). It automatically and wirelessly sends the readings to your energy supplier at least once a month, so you receive accurate, not estimated, bills.
The smart meter system is made up of two parts – the smart meters, which replace your traditional gas and electricity meters, and the in-home display – a portable screen that shows you how much gas and electricity you’re using and how much it’s costing you.
Both parts of the system work together to ensure you receive accurate information about your energy use. Your smart meter records your electricity use in near-real time, and every half hour for gas. The meter then securely shares these readings automatically with your in-home display for you to see. You can choose how often your meter readings are sent to your supplier, speak to them to find out your options.
The more frequently your supplier receives this data, the better they will understand how much energy is being used around the country, and when. With this information, they can buy more accurate amounts of energy to supply to their customers, helping to make our energy system more efficient.
Smart meters for landlords
I’m a landlord, should I get a smart meter for my rental property?
There are many reasons below as to why you should get a smart meter for a property you rent out.
They're more popular than ever
Smart meters for rental properties are more popular than ever. Research done in 2021 found that 72% of landlords would agree to get a smart meter installed, and a quarter have installed one themselves*.
They're good for the environment
More and more tenants are interested in the energy efficiency ratings of rental properties. While a smart meter won’t change your energy rating, it’s a good way to let new tenants know that you have considered the environmental impact of your property.
They make things easier
Having a smart meter makes switching energy suppliers easier. They can also be switched between credit and prepay without any further installations. Find out more about the benefits of smart meters.
You shouldn't stop them without reason
Ofgem says you shouldn’t stop your tenant from installing a smart meter without reason. If you’d rather your tenants not install a smart meter, you have the option to manage the energy bill payment yourself and include it in monthly rental charges.
Can a smart meter be installed without my tenant’s permission?
The bill payer at the property ultimately makes the decision on whether or not to get a smart meter installed. If you’d like to install a smart meter but your tenants aren’t keen, you have the option to manage the energy bill payment yourself and include it in monthly rental charges. This would allow you to make the change, but you would need to explore this change to the rental contract in more detail yourself.
It’s always a good idea to talk to your tenants about changes you’d like to make to the property. If your tenants would rather submit meter readings manually, smart meters can also work in a traditional mode - so you can ask your supplier to disable the smart functions of the meter. If you were to opt for this, the meter would operate in the same way as a traditional meter and will not transmit any data to your supplier. However, this would include the loss of your smart meter’s benefits including accurate bills through automated meter readings.
FAQs about smart meters in rental properties
Whose responsibility is it to book the smart meter installation?
There’s a lot of confusion over whose responsibility it is to organise smart meter installation – Our research found 40% of landlords and 38% of letting agents believe it is the landlord’s responsibility to install a meter, whereas 39% of landlords and 51% of letting agents believe it is the renter’s responsibility*. It’s actually up to the person who pays the energy bills for the property to organise smart meter installation with their energy supplier.
Smart meters in blocks of flats – is it possible to have one fitted?
Many homes can upgrade to a smart meter right now - but where you live, the type of home you live in, and the age and type of your existing meter may mean that your energy supplier will take a little longer to get yours to you. Contact your supplier to find out if a smart meter is suitable for your property.
I’m worried about how my smart meter sends information. Will this affect my WiFi?
Smart meters have been specifically designed not to interfere with other wireless products in your home, and there are protections in place to prevent interference. The data is transmitted safely, using a dedicated and secure wireless network that does not use your home WiFi connection.
I’m worried about how my information will be used. Are there any issues with security?
Your in-home display is paired with your smart meter by your installer, so it only shows information from your smart meter.
Personal information such as your name, address and bank details are not stored on your smart meter. The meter simply records your gas and/or electricity readings in the same way as your current meter does. The meter readings can only be shared with your energy supplier and they cannot share this without your permission.
I’ve heard different suppliers install different IHDs. How do I know which one I’ll get?
All in-home displays have been designed to be simple and easy to use, so whichever one you get, you’ll find simple to use. Whilst all in-home displays will provide the same information, they won’t all look the same, as energy suppliers provide their own. Some in-home displays offer additional information, but all will give you the detail of your energy usage in pounds, pence and kWh. You can ask your supplier what type of IHD they’ll provide you when booking your installation.
What happens when I move out of my rented home?
After you move out, you leave your IHD in the property, as it will be connected to that property’s smart meter – you can always request that your supplier install a smart meter in your next property if there isn’t one installed there.
I might switch supplier in future. Can I still get a smart meter installed?
You don’t have to get a new smart meter when you switch energy supplier. If you have a SMETS2 meter installed, you will be able to switch energy suppliers without any interruption to your energy readings, bill payments or gas and electricity supply. Your supplier can advise which meter type they install.
You may also be interested in...
- Find out more about the installation process, from finding your supplier to what happens on the day.
- Smart meters for renters – find out more about how smart meters can help you if you rent.
- Find out how to switch supplier and what to do when moving property.
* ‘The Behavioural Architects for Smart Energy GB, (March 2021), Landlord and letting agent report’.