Four Important Water Conservation Tips for Surviving the Drought with Your Tenants in Place

As one of the leading Alameda County and Contra Costa County property managers, we look at a lot of water bills. In fact, we pay them for many of our clients, so we’re very often in charge of keeping those costs down so that our property owners don’t see their entire investment run down the drain.

These are some of the simplest and quickest tips we make to anyone renting out an apartment in the East Bay. Fortunately, Californians are generally more aware of the issues relating to water conservation than are residents in many other parts of the country, but that advantage is lost if you don’t address the issue, in one way or another, right from the very beginning.

1) Water Costs are Included in the Rent!

Your tenants know perfectly well there’s no such thing as free water. Explaining to them exactly what conservation measures are in place – and why – allows your clients to make better decisions and lets them respect the mechanics or devices where they exist.

Professional property managers are experts at setting the tone right from the beginning. That’s part of the reason property owners hire them. But nothing is more important than establishing the rules regarding water use at the signing of the lease. Good tenants will understand to, that there rent may increase if water use gets more expensive. Those are the tenants you want to keep, and keep happy.

2) Make Reporting Leaks Easy

And make your follow-up fast, efficient and professional every time. One of the biggest sources of water waste, expense and damage is still the unreported leak. But if you show up in a few days in a stained t-shirt, you’re not likely to be invited back. That’s one of the things all property managers are experts at; just put on the show and you get better results, earlier reports of water leaks and less expense and damage.

3) The Biggest Savings is Between Tenants

You don’t have to be a super-star to make significant changes between tenants. You could take the expensive route and install one-gallon-per-flush super-efficient toilets. But short of that, put low-flow showerheads that pay for themselves in a month. And inspect for leaks everywhere. If you’re not prepared to do the plumbing yourself, the same goes for what you pay in these minor changes. Aerators on the sink faucets and a full inspection and replacement of anything old or worn out on any of the fixtures will cut your water use.

4) Establish Laundry Rules

This is one of the most commonly overlooked areas for landlords. Obviously, if your tenant own and operate their own equipment inside of the unit, you’ll need to be less restrictive. But that’s not to say you can’t post recommendations, again, to keep the rental rate stable. If your tenant use a common area with a coin operated or similar laundry, you can post more stringent regulations. You won’t stop everyone from running a full cycle for a pair of socks, but as mentioned above, a lot of your results depend on the tone you establish from the outset.

These tips are intended to keep your tenants happy and your water-bill as low as possible, even as the drought continues to affect all of us in the East Bay. There also some of the most important parts of property management we practice, and on an everyday basis, too.