If you’re the owner of rental properties, it’s important to pay attention to the water efficiency in your units. For starters, it is important to the planet. But it’s also important to your wallet.
In a multi-unit building, water efficiency and conservation is in the hands of the building owner. The owner is the one who can implement new technology and to educate their tenants.
In order to identify how much water your building is using, you should track usage throughout by installing meters. You’ll be able to see where the most water is being used. You’ll also be able to see any leaks or inefficient areas in the facility.
So how do you lower your water bill?
(Of course, these tips are also helpful for homeowners!)
While 60% of water consumption happens in a home’s bathroom, this is a good place to replace old amenities.
If you have old toilets from the early 90s or before, you should consider replacing them. Newer toilets comply with energy guidelines and only use 1.6 gallons per flush or less. Replacing older toilets with newer ones will save you 5-10 gallons per day, per toilet.
Installing restricting aerators in all faucets will help prevent water waste and lower your bill.
This seems obvious, but it’s often the obvious remedies that are forgotten about. It’s important to be vigilant about leaks. This is easier said than done. Of course a building owner will be able to monitor any leaks in a foyer or common hallway. However, you’ll need tenants to cooperate in reporting leaks in any of your apartments. Most have no problem calling you up when there is a problem, asking to have it fixed. But the trouble with water is that leaks aren’t always apparent right away. By the time you notice them, substantial damage could already be done.
In order to prevent this, put your building on a regular leak check from a reliable pluming service. If tenants know that a plumber will be coming around on the 1st of February, June and September, it’ll be much easier to gain access to the units. Tenants will appreciate this service, as they won’t have to worry that a burst pipe or leaking ceiling will ruin their belongings.
It doesn’t always have to cost you money to save money (ex – replacing fixtures). If you use your own landscaping team, rethink the way they are taking care of the property. How often are they watering plants? And what types of plants are they watering? Hardier foliage – honeylocust, rose glow Japanese barberry and summer hydrangea – are very low maintenance, requiring little water and pruning.
Getting tenants involved
Residents in most multi-family homes don’t get a water or sewer bill. They may not be aware that this cost is rolled into their rent. But because they don’t see a reduction in rent when being more efficient with their water use, the usually don’t bother putting effort into conservation.
In order to get everyone on board, the building owner should let everyone know that if everyone cooperates, there will be a significant decrease in the sewer and water bill. How can you pass the savings along to tenants to help entice them to participate in conservation efforts?
Start by setting a goal – lower water and sewer charges by 10% for six months. If the building reaches that goal, reward your tenants. You can offer a one-time monthly rent deduction of $15. You could drop a $5 coffee shop gift card off on all their doorsteps. Order a pizza delivered to each unit. A little effort and encouragement on your part will keep your tenants motivated in their quest of water efficiency. Over time, it will become the norm.
Not only is it great for the environment when your tenants preserve water, but it lets you preserve your bank account.
Whether your a seasoned investor or someone looking to purchase their first rental property, Bob Eberle and the Eberle Real Estate Experts can help you purchase investment property in Albany, NY. Bob was a real estate investor for over 25 years and is happy to pass all of his knowledge onto his clients. Email us your questions or post them on Facebook!