Frequently Asked Questions
What if I don’t want to pay for my residents’ cable and Internet service?
This does not obligate you to pay for the cable TV and internet service for your residents. That is one option, however even when residents pay for their own service, the cable provider is required to have you grant access to your private property to serve those customers. There is value to this access. Multifamily Utility Solutions will make sure you get the maximum value available to you.
Why do I need a cable access agreement when the cable company is already providing service
There may already be an agreement in place, but in some cases, the original agreement has expired. In order to serve your residents, the cable company needs your permission to be on your personal property. Please watch our information video for more information.
Why is electric and gas limited to certain states?
Electric and gas rates vary by state. Some states regulate these rates at the state level. Other states opt to deregulate these rates and allow the free market system and competition to keep the rates in check. In these “deregulated” states, there are numerous suppliers of electricity and gas and you have the ability to “shop” for these services. Our brokers assess your usage and current commitments to determine if these is savings to be realized for your properties.
How much is Multifamily Utility Solutions service?
Multifamily Utility Solutions works on commission in most cases. For revenue generating services such a as cable and internet access agreements, MUS only gets paid if you sign an agreement and get payment form a provider. Then and only then will you pay MUS a commission. The commission is based on a sliding scale that decreases with the number of units you assign to us.
For electric, gas and solar, MUS is paid a referral commission from our brokers so the rate you are quoted is your only cost.
For RFP preparation and management, MUS would receive a commission based on your savings.
Our success-based business model only rewards us when our work benefits you.
How does the MUS service work?
Depending on which of our services you wish to utilize, the process varies but is very easy. If we are working to generate revenue from your cable and Internet access rights then we will require a short (2 page) agreement and Letter of Authorization (LOA) to negotiate on your behalf with the potential providers. After we have negotiated what we believe to be the best agreement, we will present it to you and then it is entirely up to you as to whether or not you accept the agreement. We DO NOT have the authorization to enter in to any agreement son your behalf – only to negotiate on your behalf.
For electric and gas services in the deregulated markets, there is no agreement. We simply need the most recent 12 months of utility bills for your property.
We know your time is valuable so we try to make the process as easy as possible!
What does Exclusive Marketing Mean?
Exclusive Marketing simply means that to the extent that you have control over the marketing done at your property, you will ensure that only the company you’ve granted exclusive marketing rights will be promoted. You can’t control things like direct mail or other forms of advertising, but you can control what flyers are handed out at time of move-in and what promotional materials you have available ion the leasing office.
Exclusive Marketing does not mean the exclusive right to provide service. Other providers are still allowed on your property to provide service.
What is the Difference between System Wiring, Cable Homerun Wiring and Unit Wiring?
Cable companies are granted a non-exclusive franchise by the local municipality to use the Public Easements (Rights of Way) but once they get on to your private property those rights are controlled by you. The point they leave the public easement and enter your property they are placing “System Wiring” which is owned by the provider. Once that System Wiring reaches your building there is a demarcation point (cable box or pedestal) where the cable home run wiring starts. That wiring continues until it enters the unit where it becomes the unit wiring. You own and control the homerun and unit wiring.
How do I know if there is already an agreement in place if I didn’t sign one when I bought the property?
Agreements in almost all cases run with the property and don’t change when Ownership changes. An Assignability clause is found in almost all Access Agreements.
Even if the original term has expired most agreements include an auto-renew period. In some cases, depending on the age of the property and when the original agreement was signed, the agreement wasn’t recorded into public records and cannot be located by either party.
The first step in our process is to identify if there is an agreement for your property and if there is, we get a copy of it for you. If there is no agreement, we then begin the process of negotiated a new one.
Can I do this myself?
Like changing the oil in your car or cutting your own hair, you can. But like those tasks, it is more efficient and usually a better product if you allow professionals to do what they specialize in doing every day. We have existing contacts, know what to ask and what terms and conditions are fair and reasonable.
Most people don’t use cable service anymore so how does this benefit me and my residents?
Almost in all cases, the company that provides internet service is the cable company and those services are provided using the same cable home run, system, and unit wiring. Even though, cable TV subscription rates are declining, cable Internet service continues to increase.
How does the Property Owner make money?
There are several forms of compensation the Owner can receive. In the event the residents pay for their service directly, owners can be compensated in the form of a Door Fee or Signing Bonus. This is a one-time payment made at the beginning of the contract term.
Property owners may also receive revenue share (a percentage of the revenue paid to the cable company by the residents) on an ongoing basis – or in some cases both may be received.
The other way owners can monetize cable and internet service is by buying in bulk from the cable provider and then adding it to the residents rent as another amenity. By increasing rent or the Technology or Amenities Addendum to the lease, owners can charge more than they pay and realize that margin. For a bulk-billed agreement, Owners do need to pay for all units every month regardless of use, interest, or occupancy.
Multifamily Utility Solutions helps you sort through all these options to help determine which one is best for your property!
How do I get started?
Let’s schedule an introductory call. These calls are less than 30 minutes and it gives us the opportunity to learn more about your portfolio and goals (buy and hold, fix and flip) as this impacts our strategy. And you the opportunity to get to know us and ask any additional questions you may have about our process.