Use Water Sub-Metering to Improve your New Jersey Rental Profits
The Sub-metering System is Good for the Environment and Your Wallet!
Living in New Jersey provides a lot of benefits compared to living in other parts of the country. One of the most overlooked advantages to living in New Jersey is not having to worry about where your water is coming from. According to The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
, New Jersey’s average annual rainfall over the past forty years has been about 3 inches higher than the long-term average. That doesn’t mean that water is an unlimited resource, however.
If you live in a single dwelling home, there are many different ways to save water.
- Limit your showers to five minutes or less (don’t worry, you’ll still get clean).
- Water your lawn less frequently and at night.
- Replace old, water-guzzling toilets with new, water-saving units.
- Repair leaking pipes and dripping faucets.
But what can you do as the owner of a multi-family rental property? How can you, as a landlord, reduce your tenant’s water usage? Obviously, you can’t go into their homes and turn off running faucets or time their showers. That would be creepy and illegal. Instead, you can encourage them to save water by installing a water sub-metering system.
is a very simple concept. In addition to the main utility company water meter for the entire property, sub-meters are installed in each unit to track how much water is used by that particular tenant. Then the cost of the water can be passed on to the tenant.
There are similar systems available for electric and gas utilities
. The same benefits and principles apply, regardless of which resource is being monitored.The beauty of using sub-metering for water and energy conservation is that the tenants now have an incentive to reduce their own consumption in order to reduce their utility bills. The landlord merely maintains and monitors the system while the tenants take personal responsibility for their own water use. Studies have reported up to 30% reductions in water use in rental properties that use sub-metering.
Additional Benefits of Sub-Metering
- More efficient recovery of utility costs – The tenants will be paying for their water, gas, and energy use in full.
- More equitable distribution of fees – Tenants pay only for the resources that they actually use.
- Quicker reporting of leaks – Tenants are motivated to report minor leaks, thereby preventing possible greater damage.
- More competitive rent listings – With utilities removed from the overall rent amount, new rental listings will be more competitive when posted.
- Better access to data – New sub-metering systems can be accessed from any location, allowing landlords to analyze water usage in real time.
Installing a New Sub-Metering System
The best time to install a sub-metering network is during construction of a new property. However, it is possible to make the transition when the property is already occupied.
Communication with your tenants is key. Many of your tenants may actually see a reduction of their overall expense while the rest may be swayed by the environmental benefits
of adopting the new program.
Whether you are constructing an old property or converting an existing one, do some research. Some utility districts and municipalities may offer rebates or other incentives to encourage landlords to upgrade their properties. It is already mandated for new construction in many areas.
At this point in the planning stage, it is important to bring in a good plumbing contractor. That is where we at Plumbers 911 come in. We are a nationwide referral network which represents competent and reliable locally-owned plumbing businesses. We pre-screen our affiliates to ensure the following:
Highly-trained and well-equipped technicians:
Our contractors are licensed professionals who have undergone at least 100,000 hours of training. They also pursue additional training on the latest equipment and skills in the industry.
Professional, timely service:
Plumbers 911 is not a franchise operation, nor is it a nationwide chain with a huge headquarters in another state. It is a network of local New Jersey businesses who have worked hard to build and maintain their good reputations. They will also be familiar with the construction standards and building codes of your community.
Trustworthy staff members:
All of our workers agree to background check when hired, and ongoing drug testing.
Once you’ve hired one of our affiliated businesses, their helpful staff will be able to work with you to plan a system that will meet your needs. As you identify which rental units on the property need to be metered, they will recommend the best equipment to purchase, as well as the best locations for installation. The process should be fairly quick, especially with new construction, taking as little as twenty minutes per meter to install. Converting an older property may take a while longer, around thirty minutes per meter, depending on the construction of the building.
For best results, sub-metering networks need to be periodically inspected and maintained. In addition, you will need to adjust your billing policies and rent statements to reflect the new information. Research green incentive programs to determine which reporting requirements apply to your property to maximize your earnings.
Your tenants will need additional information as well. Your rental or lease agreement may need to be revised and there may be information on tenant rights under local or state statutes which you will need to pass on to your tenants. Be prepared to answer their questions. You and your tenants will be working through the transition together. Point out the advantages of being in control of their own water usage.
As you become more comfortable with the AMR (Automatic Meter Reading
) capabilities of your sub-meters, you will be able to narrow down the location of possible leaks or dripping faucets. Your ongoing maintenance program will benefit from the additional information, allowing you to spend more time on preventative maintenance, rather than spending time and money on repairing water damage.
Given the benefits of sub-metering, there is no good reason to delay. Call the plumbing experts at Plumbers 911 to begin converting your New Jersey rental properties for increased profitability and energy efficiency now.