Recent government surveys show that 70 percent of renters are worrying about increases in their monthly utility bills; that’s more than the percent who are concerned about increases in their rent. With utility prices on the rise, renters are feeling the pinch, and it’s stressing them out. Property managers are uniquely positioned to help alleviate some of those worries and renters appreciate those who do. In fact, nearly half of residents who participate in the survey said they would be willing to pay more in rent if they knew they were getting cost savings for utilities.
What exactly can you do to help renters get a better handle on rising utility costs? First, assess how green your communities are. Most renters perceive green communities as better places to live and associate energy-saving and water-saving amenities with reductions in utility bills. But you don’t need to completely retrofit your properties to LEED certification standards to help your residents out. You can take advantage of small steps that translate to big savings for you and your residents.
Submetering: Submeters are one of the most common and effective ways to reduce utility consumption and costs. When residents know they’ll be billed for their own usage, they are significantly more likely to reduce usage (and costs) by up to 35 percent. Introducing a submeter system, performing regular maintenance, and upgrading old meters can go a long way toward reducing waste and bringing down costs.
System Monitoring: No one wants an unpleasant surprise when they open their utility bill. Reports that monitor submeter performance can give you an early heads up to unusual high or low consumption rates so you can notify maintenance to diagnose and fix problems like leaks or malfunctioning meters before they hit the resident’s bill. Proactive monitoring can help with savings and earn goodwill from your renters.
Education: Knowledge can equal power-savings for residents. Share tips to conserve water and energy regularly. Make sure utility charges are appropriately itemized on resident’s monthly bill and provide access to historic utility consumption data to help them budget for months when bills are higher. Even posting average utility costs at the property can help residents see if their usage is high and encourage conservation behaviors.
Energy Star Certification: If you’ve gone to the trouble to make your property energy efficient, make sure prospective residents know about it. Take the necessary steps to obtain your Energy Star Certification (submitting your energy use data may already be required in your area) and be sure to post the certified logo on your website and other marketing materials. This signals to both current and future residents that they won’t be alone in their efforts to manage utility costs.
You are in a great position to provide added value to residents by helping them manage rising utility costs. But you’re not there alone. Reach out to Entrata’s ResidentUtility specialists for help with everything from submetering, utility expense management, utility billing, and even Energy Star certification. Our experts can keep you on top of things so you can offer your residents the peace of mind they crave.