How Creativity (and Technology) Can Get Renters to Use Less Water

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A landlord’s job is never done. There are the constant maintenance issues that require your attention, the unit vacancies that need filling, and the tenants who may not be getting along. On top of that, there are the litany of bills that slide into your inbox every month like clockwork. With so much going on, no one can blame you for not taking the time to consider how to lower your property’s water bill. Unlike other utilities, many landlords are responsible for paying for the water their tenants consume. Renters can take endlessly long showers, and leave the water running while brushing their teeth, all with reckless abandon. No matter how much, or little, water they use, as the landlord, you’re left holding the bag.

Given that they never see the bill, the numbers demonstrate that many renters simply don’t think twice about their water consumption. Out of sight, out of mind. Take California; from December 2011 to March 2017, the state experienced one of the worst droughts in its history. Still, a 2015 survey by the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles as reported in the LA Times, showed that 72% of apartment building residents had not changed their water-using habits and 14% even increased their water usage. Even with a Mad Max style water-shortage on the horizon, only 12% of L.A. renters improved their water consumption behavior.

For landlords, the situation may seem hopeless, but fear not, with a little outside-the-box thinking, you can entice your tenants to scale back their water use. It all starts with education. Your renters may be interested in helping to conserve Earth’s most precious resources, but they may not know just how much water their building is consuming. Send them regular updates about the property’s water usage; better yet, send graphs that diagram the month-to-month increases or declines. Inform them of the potential savings that come with using less water, and share the savings with them! A monetary reward is a great way to incentivize better water consumption behavior. Spark their competitive spirit by establishing a conservation goal, and award prizes if they can rally together and hit it. Free pizzas sent to their doors, a hosted happy hour at the bar down the street, or discounted rent can all be used to motivate renters to turn off the tap.

As a landlord, you have technological options to reduce water consumption that doesn’t even require getting your tenants to adopt better water consumption habits. You can retrofit water fixtures and appliances with efficient upgrades. Think of it as an investment that will pay dividends no matter if the current or future tenants are water savers or wasters. You can also check with your local utility provider to see what rebates they have available. Combined with the monthly savings, the upgrades will pay for themselves, allowing you to pocket some extra cash every month.

Reducing your property’s water bill is possible; you just have to be proactive and creative in your approach. Your conservation efforts will be appreciated by both your bank account and future generations who won’t have to scavenge for water Mad Max style! If you’re a landlord looking to upgrade to high-efficiency water fixtures, contact a Niagara expert.

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