How tenant bills are handled in Bulgaria?
We’re often asked by our foreign property management clients, who are not familiar with the Bulgarian system, how the utility bills connected with their property are handled when a tenant is living there. The below article attempts to explain the main points:
Utility bills are usually kept in the name of the property owner, and not transferred to the tenant.
Utility bills (for gas, electricity, heating, hot/cold water) are issued by the utility companies monthly based on the actual usage (where its possible to measure it accurately, and approximated where not). These bills are usually paid by SIM on behalf of the owner and then we request the tenant to pay these bills along with their rent each month.
Reconciliation of water and heating takes place once per year based on the individual meters located in the property. Any over-payments made by the tenants are refunded to them and any under-payments are requested from them with the next months rent.
We usually do not transfer the bills into the name of the tenant for a number of reasons:
- we’d lose control over what is happening with them
- if the tenant does not pay them the debt ultimately remains with the property owner
- if the tenant were not to pay the bills and the utility company were to disconnect the meters this would lead to another large expense in order to get the meters reconnected
- the bills transfer process in Bulgaria from the owner to the tenant and back again is extremely time consuming.
Service charges, for the upkeep of the common parts of an apartment building, are payable by the owner and are not usually the responsibility of the tenant.
Bills for short-term rental properties are usually paid completely by the owner of the property and are included in the rent paid by the guest/tenant.
As part of our standard property management service, Sim Property looks after and pays all bills on behalf of the property owner so you don’t have to worry.