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Utility submetering is recognized as an excellent way for multifamily and commercial properties to cut costs and conserve energy. Unfortunately, some property owners are still hesitant to take the plunge. Learn more about the key factors that make 2012 an excellent year to submeter.

Submetering is no longer a foreign term in the multifamily and commercial property industries. In fact, water submetering has become a required practice in certain cities and states. Georgia’s Water Stewardship Act requires all multi-family and commercial units to be submetered by July of 2012. Areas of California and Texas have also passed similar laws that will take full effect in the next few years.

The rise of submetering popularity has also led to a wide range of tax rebates and tax deductions aimed at this energy efficient practice. For example, the Energy Policy Act (EPACT) provides a $1.80 per square foot tax deduction for the design and construction of energy efficient buildings through December 31, 2013. A variety of energy efficiency rebates that can also apply to submeter installation are also found on the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency website.

In addition to the tax benefits available, the vacancy rate for multifamily properties is predicted to decline from the current 5.8% in 2011 to 4.9% in early 2012, and will continue to decline further as the year progresses. Commerce Department statistics expect rents to spike approximately 7% in the next two years, compared to the normal 1% increase seen in recent years. These statistics, combined with the predication that an influx of millions of gen-x and gen-y renters will soon enter the rental market, makes 2012 the perfect time to upgrade your property’s energy efficiency and lower operating costs.

Is 2012 the year to submeter your multifamily or commercial property? Contact us at 1-800-256-9826 for more information on submeter installation, meter reading services, as well as billing and collection services.

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The popularity of off-campus student housing developments has risen dramatically in recent years. As the students living in these types of apartments graduate and transition into the workforce, they will undoubtedly seek rentals with similar amenities. Find out more about this large influx of renters and learn about the “extras” that will help to attract them to your property.

Multi-Housing News describes the new influx of renters as “70 to 80 million gen-x, gen-y and echo boom kids that are coming into the workforce in the next two to 10 years.” The decline in home ownership is greatest among the under 30 demographic according to Freddie Mac Economic and Housing Research, meaning that the majority of this new renter population will be looking to rent.

Flexibility is one of the major factors attracting new generations to multifamily properties, since many young adults don’t want to be tied down to a specific location through home ownership at this point in their lives. This means that these renters will likely place priority on properties offering short terms leases of a year or less. Convenience is another key factor, making properties that are located within walking distance to public transportation and amenities very attractive to this generation of renters. WiFi lounges, business centers, covered parking, and workout facilities are a few perks that renters may have become accustomed to in student housing complexes and would also view as valuable “extras” for a first apartment.

Sustainability is another factor that younger generations consider when renting. While green living has become trendy in recent years, the monetary benefits that come from living in an energy efficient building are certainly not lost on this age group. Allowing residents control over their utilities through submetering, installing Energy Star efficient appliances, and creating green rooftop patios and gardens are all ways to appeal to the new generation of renters, setting your property apart from the rest.

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While utility submetering offers many benefits for multifamily and commercial property owners, residents who are not aware of maintenance issues and conservation techniques may complain about receiving higher water bills. There is one common maintenance issue in particular that can result in shockingly high bills for residents if left untreated. Do your residents know about this water bill villain?

A leaky toilet is one of the most common maintenance issues that can cause a resident’s water bill to spike. According to statistics from the Environmental Protection Agency, a leaky toilet can waste approximately 40,000 gallons of water in one month. As a reference point, the average two adult household uses approximately 3,000 – 4,000 gallons of water per month. Leaky toilets result in water bills that can easily cost residents hundreds of extra dollars per month if leaks are left untreated.

The best way to ensure that your residents avoid high water bills is to educate them on conservation techniques and encourage them to report maintenance issues as soon as they notice them. If a resident suspects that their toilet is leaking, a simple test of putting a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank can solve the mystery. If the color begins to appear in the bowl without flushing, the resident’s toilet has a leak that should be repaired immediately. Sending residents frequent emails, newsletters, pamphlet checklists, or even magnets reminding them about common maintenance and conservation issues can help them to avoid this costly mistake.

Tending to a leaky toilet is just one of the ways residents can save themselves the shock of a high water bill. Educating your residents on water conservation can help to improve their rental experience as a whole. For a full list of water conservation tips, visit our resident website at mywaterwatchbill.com.

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