How to Implement Green Initiatives in Your Property Rentals

woman hands holding green house

You’re getting ready to put your house on the rental market, but you want a way to set yourself apart from the standard rentals in your area. Consider making green changes to your rental property, particularly if you’re in a city that puts a strong emphasis on alternative energy, low environmental impact transportation options, and other ways of staying green. Renovate with green changes before the renters move in, and give them incentives to continue on your environmentally-friendly path.

Potential Renovations

Renovations benefit your rental property for more than adding another amenity line on your rental listing. You also get tax breaks for certain green renovations. For example, How Stuff Works reports that tax incentives are available for energy efficient renovations. In particular, consider re-insulating your house to take advantage of a $1,500 or 30 percent tax credit, as well as bringing down the overall heating and cooling costs associated with that property. A photovoltaic system gives you a way to generate your own energy for the property, bringing down electricity costs for your tenants. In addition, you’ll receive a tax credit worth up to 30 percent of what you spent on renovations.

You don’t need to make big, sweeping changes to begin making your rental property greener. Something as small as changing out all of the light bulbs makes a big difference in your home. The Wall Street Journal recommends the GE Reveal CFL light bulb for a good combination of cost efficiency and illumination ability. While environmentally-friendly options such as CFL and LED light bulbs cost more than a standard light bulb, they also last significantly longer. In addition, if you outfit the light fixtures with dimmer switches, you’ll also reduce the amount of electricity required.

Tenant Incentives

Talk to your tenants about your environmentally-friendly decisions and desires for your rental property. Once you clear them through a tenant screening service such as AAOA, give them incentives to keep up with the green trend that you’ve started within the home. A standard incentive includes rent deductions, but you may also provide non-monetary incentives through monthly cleaning services or yard services.

Rent Monitor recommends providing your tenants with an abundance of recycling cans so it’s convenient and easy for them to sort through recyclables. Consider giving them a house warming gift filled with green cleaning supplies and additional CFL light bulbs to get them off to a good start. Outfit the house with smart power strips that automatically cut power to devices that aren’t turned on. Utilize smart thermostats and encourage tenants to keep the system on as low as possible whenever people are at work or otherwise not in the house. Tenants may not remember to set a thermostat every time they leave for work, but when you use a smart thermostat it’s automatically programmed.

the author

Originally from Virginia, Jennifer C. Sellers is passionate about sustainability and conservation in South Carolina and throughout the world. She earned her BA in English from Coastal Carolina University and her MAS in Environmental Policy and Management from the University of Denver. She is a university sustainability coordinator that implements programs and teaches people about going green and being sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @MyGreenGlasses

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