Portland is no stranger to activism and progressive policies, especially when it comes to landlord and tenant laws and best practices. Environmental activism is popular in the city, and so it should come as no surprise that there’s a trend in the rental housing market that leans towards greener, more sustainable homes. The residents you’re hoping to attract to your investment property are looking for energy conservation, a respect for natural resources, and eco-friendly and sustainable systems, fixtures, and features.
To be successful and competitive in the current market, you’ll need to keep up with this trend and offer a rental property that embraces green initiatives. This is not as complicated as it may sound. You can go big: while solar panels are a great idea, there’s not necessarily a need for you to completely renovate your property in such a way. Making some small upgrades and updates will go a long way.
Your best residents are looking for ways to minimize their carbon footprint. If they feel like you share the same values and give them an opportunity to live a greener life by providing a sustainable and environmentally responsible property, you’ll earn higher rents and attract and retain better residents.
Look for ways to incorporate sustainable practices in the leasing, management, and maintenance of your property. If you’re unsure of how to do this, a Portland property management company like our team at PropM, Inc. can offer some valuable suggestions.
We’re sharing some of the best strategies today. You need to take this trend seriously not only in an effort to attract those tenants and rental values but also because making environmental improvements can actually reduce your own operating costs.
Here are some of the best green initiatives and sustainable practices that we’d recommend for any investment property in Portland. These will create a positive impact on the environment and retain residents in the long term, allowing you to earn more.
Conduct a Sustainability Audit for your Rental in Tampa
You need to have a good idea of where your benchmark currently is. How much work really needs to be done? When it comes to evaluating the efficiency of your property, most landlords feel like they don’t know what they’re looking for.
You can hire an energy auditor or talk to a team like ours, and we’ll coordinate all the details. You want to make sure you’re working with a reliable professional who specializes in how tenants utilize the natural resources found in a rental home. You might be surprised to learn that on average, rental properties have a significantly higher rate of energy usage than homes that are occupied by their owners. A good energy auditor knows this and can point out some ways in which you can do better.
Start with an audit and have your inspector look at everything from small drips and leaks to insulation to light bulbs and landscaping and appliances. You’ll receive a report, which you can use to make decisions about where you want to invest your time and resources.
Prioritize Energy Efficiency Lights in Portland Rental Homes
One excellent way to reduce your property’s energy consumption is to switch to efficiency lighting. Not only is this effective, it’s also affordable. The lights are one of the easiest upgrades you can make. Replacing old incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs with LED lights can reduce your energy consumption by up to 75 percent, ultimately decreasing utility bills for your tenants (and for you during turnover and vacancy periods).
You’ll need to make an initial investment in the energy-efficient lights, which are slightly more expensive than the basic light bulbs you may have been using. But, once you install an LED light, it will last for years. You won’t have to plan on replacing those lights for a long time. This is good news for you and your tenants, regardless of who is responsible for light bulb replacements. There’s less to think about. You can likely get through several long tenancies without replacing those new lights that are far more efficient.
Take some extra steps while you’re thinking about how to modernize your lighting and make it greener. For example, using motion sensors and timers can ensure that lights are not left on unnecessarily, and energy is only being used when required. Smart home technology is available that will predict when and how much light is needed at different times of the day and on different days of the week. It’s predictive, automated, and better for the environment.
Replace Aging Appliances with Energy-Efficient Models
You can also invest in energy-efficient appliances that are designed to use less power while providing the same quality of service. This is an especially good idea during turnover periods. If you’re moving one tenant out and preparing the property for a new resident, take the opportunity to review the washer, dryer, refrigerator, stove and oven, and dishwasher. Are they beginning to look old? Are you frequently called to make repairs on them? Are they loud and likely using more water or electricity than they need to?
Instead of repairing those appliances over and over again, why not replace them? This will make your property more attractive to good tenants and provide you with a great marketing tool; you can mention the new appliances in your listing.
That will get the attention of tenants.
Look for models that have an Energy Star rating. This will be better for the environment, better for utility bills, and ultimately better for your investment property and its results.
Conserving Water at Portland Rental Homes
Water usage is on the minds of tenants, and while there are many ways that personal behavior can impact water conservation, you can endeavor to save water by making a few changes to your property, too.
For example, you can install low-flow showerheads, faucets, and toilets in order to significantly reduce your property’s water usage. To cut down on water usage in outdoor areas, focus on showcasing native vegetation in your landscaping that will require less water. You can find irrigation systems that use recycled water and you can invest in timers and sensors that will tell you whether watering is even needed.
Understanding Better Waste Management
Implementing measures that enhance waste management practices can help drastically reduce the amount of trash that’s generated by a Portland rental property. Effective ways to address this issue include:
Educating tenants on recycling and composting, and how they can separate their trash to easily conserve and eliminate waste.
Providing designated containers for recyclable and organic waste and conducting regular inspections to ensure trash separation is being implemented correctly.
Use cleaning products and materials that are eco-friendly and reduce the use of harmful chemicals that may be toxic. This will be especially important to your tenants if they have sensitivities or allergies.
Lead by example. Be careful about how you handle your own trash and recycling. Don’t just talk about recycling, make sure you’re recycling yourself. This can create a better relationship with your tenants.
Learn about Renewable Energy Sources
Investing in renewable energy sources, such as solar panels, is a long-term sustainable practice that pays off in the end. By harnessing energy from the sun, property owners can generate electricity that can be used to meet their daily energy needs, eliminating dependency on the power grid and reducing their carbon footprint. Although the initial investment can be significant, reducing your energy bills and producing renewable energy that can be sold back to the grid can lead to significant cost savings in the long run.
This is a huge sustainable change, and while it’s a fantastic idea for a lot of reasons, it’s not absolutely necessary. We would love to help you install them and lead the rental market in new energy, but if that is not in your budget right now, you can make some smaller and more incremental changes.
Electric car charging stations are also a great idea for renewable energy, especially since those cars are growing in popularity. But, it’s also a huge investment, so now might not be the right time.
That’s okay. You can start small.
Adopting green initiatives in Portland will set a high standard that will inevitably drive change in the rental property management industry and the way rental homes are set up and then marketed. By integrating sustainable practices and green systems and functions, rental property owners can contribute to a better environment, increase their property value, and save money while offering tenants a safe and sustainable place to live.
We know this can be overwhelming if you have not already thought about becoming more environmentally responsible. But, you have to know your market. And, by committing to these changes, you have an outstanding opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to environmental sustainability while raising awareness of the importance of sustainable practices among tenants and other landlords and property owners. When this becomes normal in the market, then you won’t feel like you’re fighting so hard.
Making a difference and setting an example is entirely achievable by following these initiatives and sustainable practices. And, we can help. Contact us at PropM, Inc.