6 Easy Tips To Reduce Your Rental Property Utility Bills
Most owners of rental properties know that including electricity and/or gas in rental costs is a great way to attract and retain tenants. Unfortunately, even though utility services can be deducted from rental income, they can still bite into your revenue without proper management. Balancing rental income, property taxes, and expenses is the best way to keep the taxman from digging deeper into your pocket come tax season, so what do you do?
Contact Your Utility Company:If you’re not using regulated retailers then you have room to negotiate. The electricity and natural gas industry can be cutthroat, most competitive retailers will be more than willing to offer you a few cents off per kWh or GJ if they think you are going to the competition. Take advantage of some cost comparison tools online which can show you what different energy retailers are offering to give yourself a leg up when negotiating.
Pro Tip: Inform yourself as to any cancellation fees you could incur when switching as this is a favorite scare tactic of some less competitive companies.
Install A Smart Thermostat:Sure, your tenants probably don’t want you adjusting their temperatures on the fly. That doesn't mean you can’t set them up for success though. Allowing your tenants to create their own account on popular services such as Nest will allow them to monitor and adjust their own rental unit utility usage. Many of the most popular smart thermostats utilize motion detection and wifi activity to develop advanced heating/cooling schedules. Just make sure you reset the thermostat when they leave so that you retain control.
Invest In Quality Window Shades Or Film:This may seem surprising, but those big panes of glass we love staring out of also happen to be huge energy traps. Quality shades with blackout material, or window film with tint, will help block sunlight in the summer and keep the rental unit cool. They also assist with the reverse come winter time, keeping your warm inside air from leaching out into the cold. Less energy loss equals less energy usage; end result, less money spent by you!
Install Water-Efficient Showerheads And Toilets:Water is something included in almost every rental unit as a matter of courtesy and for that reason it is often something most tenants don’t think twice about. Long showers or overly aggressive washing machine marathons do more than increase your water bill, your utility bill will spike as well from heating all that water.
Thankfully, the average tenant isn’t interested in changing out toilets or showerheads, so if presented with water-efficient models already installed they will likely be used rather than replaced. Contact your retailer and inquire about any subsidies from your municipality when making these upgrades.
Switch To Energy Efficient Lighting:All that heat you feel when you put your hand up to a lit lightbulb? That’s wasted opportunity to cut back your costs. With today’s high-efficiency lighting going further and further down in cost, there is no excuse for not upgrading your lighting with LED or CFL bulbs. Many municipalities and provinces also offer rebate programs when you purchase this type of lighting so make sure you check what is available at your local retailers.
With life expectancies ranging in years it’s also good practice to protect your investment. While many lease agreements stipulate that tenants will replace light bulbs upon vacating a rental unit; however, few specify the type of bulb. Ensure you include wording in your agreements that specifies replacements will be equivalent to what you originally installed.
Subscribe To A Furnace Filter Delivery Service:Remember when you were a tenant and all those times you changed the furnace filter? No, of course not. Most people have a hard enough time remembering to do this in houses they own, let alone those they rent. Regular furnace filter changes can reduce your energy bill an estimated 5-15% by making your HVAC system more energy efficient, not to mention they protect you against costly maintenance.
A furnace filter delivery service, like ours here at the Clean Air Club, acts as a physical reminder of when to change your furnace filter ensuring everything is running at peak efficiency. Best of all, you can deduct it from your rental income!
So there you have it, six easy ways to reduce your rental property utility bills to keep more of your money in your pocket! Rental real estate can be a great way to increase your passive income and long-term wealth, and smart investors keep close watch over their expenses.