Rental properties gain reputations in various ways – people may choose where to live based on price, but they also tend to take into account things like pet policies, the reputation of maintenance services, various onsite amenities like a gym, laundry room, or athletic courts, and even features like green living practices. Choosing one or more of these features and emphasizing them as part of the character of your properties can be a beneficial strategy.
Green living practices are in high demand among millennials, but what exactly does that mean? Eco-friendly practices cut a wide swath, but the concept also defines a lifestyle. To truly attract those committed to eco-friendly practices may mean offering numerous environmentally focused policies and options. And what about the tenant who is otherwise pleasant and compliant? Can you enforce eco-friendly practices at your rental property?
Environmental Responsibility 101
Depending on the practices of other rental properties in your area, it can be very easy to present yourself as the most environmentally responsible of the bunch. When your neighbors don’t have a recycling program, you’re easily positioned to best them by sorting your cardboard boxes and aluminum cans.
In Houston, the city will only collect recyclables from private homes and complexes with fewer than eight units. If you are the owner of a larger complex, you’ll need to make your own arrangements for recyclable pick up. Many owners don’t do this, so this small act signals a commitment to basic environmental stewardship.
Other simple steps you can take towards environmentally friendly living at your properties include making sure proper maintenance is done to seal gaps and fully insulate the home. Poorly insulated homes expend much more energy to stay at the appropriate temperatures during the year. Good maintenance practices can fix this problem quickly and easily.
One of the most popular ways to make your apartment more eco-friendly today is to install different kinds of smart home technologies. Some of these are relatively common, such as programmable thermostats – most modern homes feature thermostats that can be set to cycle through different temperature settings, reducing energy expenditures when no one is home, and adjusting around the time people return.
Another common environmentally friendly tactic is to install Energy Star appliances in your rental properties. These appliances use less energy than older, less efficient appliances. If your rental property is due for new appliances anyway, it makes sense to choose these replacements.
Finally, for those who are ahead of the curve, smart technologies that can be accessed and adjusted on a smartphone are the new hot item when it comes to environmentally friendly living. These appliances allow you to adjust things like your thermostat, landscaping features like sprinklers, and other digitally connected home features, no matter where you are. These can be complicated to utilize in rental conditions, but with certain clear agreements they can work to everyone’s advantage.
Down In The Dirt
If you really want to take your apartment to the next level, you might consider establishing a composting system for your tenants. Depending on whether your properties are single-family homes or large complexes, this practice will look different. For apartments you might issue each unit a compost bucket for use in the kitchen and then offer a central site for depositing the materials. Then your landscapers can use the resulting soil for on-site gardening. You might even provide community garden space if there’s any unused area in your complex. This can be an attractive feature for those interested in local agriculture.
For single-family homes, you may have to leave composting up to the individual renters. If they wish to garden on the property or participate in a local composting program, you can share that information with them, but otherwise it would be harder to regulate. Even in a complex, it’s unlikely that you can require composting if it isn’t required in the area. The best you can do is inform your renters about the process and allow them to make their own decisions.
Enforcing Eco-Friendly Living
As an owner, you may find it difficult to enforce certain eco-friendly living policies, even if you foreground them as central to your rental ethics. In order to fully assess what is and isn’t possible, you may need to consult with a local lawyer specializing in environmental policies. Such an individual would have the best understanding of local requirements and legal pathways.
If you’re deeply committed to reducing the environmental impact of your rental properties, the best things you can do are install energy efficient appliances, even beyond Energy Star refrigerators and washing machines, for instance. Low output showerheads and dual flush toilets can reduce water waste at your properties. You can also restrict landscaping to low water options, skipping high maintenance grass in favor of gravel or less water intensive plants.
Finally, real environmental ethics begin from the ground up. When performing maintenance on your properties or replacing materials, be sure to choose materials that coincide with your ideals. This is often the best way to depict your priorities in your rental properties.
Environment And Tenant Friendly Properties
As the property owner, your role in the rental process is to create a comfortable home for your tenants with policies you can all live with. Carving out a niche as an environmentally friendly owner is one way to narrow your potential tenants – but if done the right way, it may also allow you to share your environmental justice concerns with a new population. If your policies are accessible and friendly to newcomers, you may win converts.
No matter how you decide to craft the image of your rental properties, Green Residential is on your side. With over 30 years of property management experience, we can assist you in developing rental practices that work for everyone involved. Contact Green Residential today to discuss your goals as an owner. We’ll bring all of our expertise to the table to help guide you through the rules and regulations for Houston area rental properties. We know how it all works – let us share our knowledge with you.