As the general public grows increasingly environmentally conscious, there are numerous implications for you as a landlord. For one, alternative and renewable energy solutions are becoming cheaper and more accessible. From new models of energy-efficient light bulbs to solar panels, investing in clean energy is becoming a reality for more and more homes across the country.
Secondly, many potential tenants concerned with staying green are going to be looking for properties that reflect their lifestyle. If a property has efficient heating and cooling systems in place, for example, an environmental apartment-hunter might find it attractive despite other flaws with the property. So what should you be doing as a landlord to capitalize on this trend?
Don’t include utilities in the rent. Footing utility bills yourself and baking the costs into monthly rent will only encourage your tenants to waste as much energy as they wish. There’s no reason a tenant can’t handle paying such bills themselves, and though the convenience of not having to handle them are surely attractive to many, it’ll only spell bad news for you (and the environment!). The best way to ensure your tenants don’t go crazy with their energy consumption habits is to let them pay for it.
Invest in energy-efficient appliances. From washing machines to ovens, there lies a spectrum of energy efficiency for every appliance. Many older models consume energy at such high rates that you’re draining money every month that it continues to run. Fitting your properties with more energy-efficient appliances might seem expensive when you’re looking at their price tags, but in many instances you’ll save the money you spent within a matter of years.
Energy Star, an international standard for energy efficiency, offers ratings, complete with prices, to allow consumers and businesses alike to make the most well-informed decisions about what to buy and why. In addition, things like water-saving showerheads and other accessories you might not think about can help you and your tenants save money moving forward.
Set up exterior lighting wisely. You of course want to prove ample exterior lighting for your tenants, for both comfort and safety reasons, but take steps to ensure you aren’t being wasteful when doing so. When installing exterior lighting with safety in mind, consider motion-sensor lights to get the job done – after all, they’re only on when they need to be, rather than burning energy throughout the night, every night.
When installing lights simply for lighting purposes, provide an easy, accessible spot for your tenants to turn them on and off. A light whose switch is located in an unused basement stairwell isn’t going to get turned on – or off – very often. This tip extends to all elements of ensuring your house is as green as possible: make being green as easy as possible for your tenants. Otherwise, they might not bother.
Additional Reading: Looking for more ways to make money? Consider renting garage space
Advertise it! If your property is environmentally friendly, there’s no reason not to mention as much when listing it. Living in a green property can be an attractive feature for environmentally conscious potential tenants, so mention any and all green aspects you’ve put into it, whether on the listing itself or when you’re giving tours in person. Emphasize to interested renters the relatively low utility costs. This could also allow you to increase rent slightly, meaning more revenue for you and the same cost for your tenants.
The bottom line: if you invest in your properties long term, both you and your tenants can benefit, so make going green a priority!