The newsLINK Group - Making Your Rental Greener

Editorial Library Category: Multi-Family & Property Management Topics: Green Rental Title: Making Your Rental Greener Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: The U.S. currently has a high percentage of renters. A full one-third of all households are occupied by renters, according to the National Multifamily Housing Council as of September 2014. Editorial: Making Your Rental Greener 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 The U.S. currently has a high percentage of renters. A full one-third of all households are occupied by renters, according to the National Multifamily Housing Council as of September 2014. Of that group, 34 percent are less than 30 years old. The next big group (31 percent) is people between the ages of 45 and 65. Percentages don’t always give a good idea as to the actual numbers. In 2013, a group at Harvard that studies housing published a report on what they saw happening. That report quantifies the number at 43 million as of early 2013. Why are there so many renters? Some of it has to do with the economy. The Great Recession, and the foreclosures that went with it, had a huge effect on the U.S. as millions of homeowners had their ownership taken away. Unemployment during those years was also high. Many people simply do not have a large financial cushion anymore, and at least for now, home ownership is out of reach. The idea that home ownership is a good idea went south for many people. They saw the dangers that come from having a home’s value plummet, as well as the high cost homeowners sometimes face when they move somewhere else and can’t find a ready buyer. Suddenly, renting looked really good to a lot of people as a viable way to live somewhere nice and yet not be tied to the disadvantages of home ownership at an uncertain economic time. Between 2000 and 2010, many cities found that they had a larger number of renters than homeowners. (Some of the names in this category include western cities like Salt Lake City and Sacramento, as well as other cities like Baltimore, Maryland; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Reading, Pennsylvania.) At the same time, though, you know that when you have a large market, you also have a larger number of competitors for that market. This has certainly been true of the rental market. The national rental market has been what CNBC called “robust” in an article by Diana Olick that appeared online January 6, 2015, but the article also identifies the big problem for many people who want to fill the housing gap: yes, many people want to rent, but they have so many choices that the rental market has gone flat. How can you make your rental more appealing to great renters in a competitive market where there are plenty of other options? Many of today’s renters are interested in more than just finding a new place to call home. They also want that home to be environmentally responsible. According to a 2013 survey by Strata Research and HD Supply, 77 percent of the 1,000 renters who were surveyed thought renting a green apartment was important. If you are building a new rental, the answer for staying competitive is simple: focus on building something that is as environmentally friendly as possible right from the beginning. But not everyone has that luxury, since many rentals have been around for a while. If you have existing, older properties, how can you compete with newer rentals? One way to do it is to upgrade your rentals. According to the survey mentioned above, the people who answered the survey favored five simple, specific upgrades that count: buying Energy Star appliances and energy efficient windows, and installing bathroom faucets, showerheads, and toilets that save water. It’s best to approach environmentally friendly upgrades from several different directions: Be creative and find good opportunities to change things up. You want to be on the lookout for lots of different ideas, especially the ones that are small and easy to implement. You should also look for opportunities whenever a renter needs some maintenance or some repairs. If something breaks and it has to be replaced, for example, make sure that the replacement is greener than the original. Another great