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Get Renters To Care

January 2, 2016

How can you get renters to care about their water bill? Why would they? Unlike their monthly electric bills, most building residents do not get a separate bill for water and sewer services. When they do use water more efficiently, they do not get the benefit of a lowered bill. Most owners build the water cost into the rent yet residents do not see a reduction in their rent when they do make the effort to cut down on their water use. Unfortunately, there is little incentive for renters to save so many simply do not bother to do so. 

According to Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, apartment complexes and condos account for about 28% of Los Angeles’ water use. According to a survey that the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles (AAGLA) took in July of 2015, around 72% of building residents had not changed their water-using habits and 14% actually increased their water usage. That means only 12% were compelled to do their part to help the state meet the mandated 25% water reduction. Clearly, developing an easy, simple and solid solution would not only help owners reduce their water use, but also educate and encourage the tenants to conserve. 

Entice Them…
One solution is to simply educate your tenants. Give them facts about the drought.  Provide tips and suggestions on water reduction and make them aware of the potential savings when everyone in the building commits to using less. Next, pass on the savings to them! Let them know how much is being used and what the building’s conservation goal is for the month or year. Reward your tenants for using water efficiently with the savings to keep them motivated to rally around a truly worthwhile cause. Try hosting a free event like a monthly pizza night or happy hour (More savings = more pizza/drinks!). You can pass out prizes or, if possible, offer a cash incentive or rent discount. The benefit is that over time conserving water will become second nature to your residents. 

Or Simply Upgrade!
Another solution that requires no change in your renters’ use or behavior is to retrofit your fixtures and appliances to higher efficiency ones. Take advantage of long-standing rebates offered by your local utility provider. In most cases, your water-savings would be so significant that your new fixtures and appliances will pay for themselves in no time! Your tenants can appreciate this because it does not require them to change their habits or adjust to a different lifestyle (although they probably should). Yet, this would guarantee a change in water use without having to solely rely on the actions of your tenants.