The relatively small amount of dollars spent in sustainable spaces is less a chicken-and-egg conundrum than it once was. The question has been, do rental property owners refrain from investing in green features because tenants won’t pay for performance efficiencies, or is that tenants don’t have access to these high-performing features and therefore, don’t have the opportunity to pay more money for them?
There is more evidence to persuade Bay Area landlords to invest in sustainable communities, not only to attract renters looking to live green but put green in the owner’s pockets. No less than 84 percent of respondents to an AMLI Residential survey reported that living in a sustainable environment is important to them. More telling though, is that 64 percent of respondents expressed a willingness to pay a higher rent for sustainable features and 85 percent attest that sustainable living is beneficial to their long-term health.
When Bay Area landlords consider adding sustainability features, it is less about an abstract cause of reducing the carbon footprint and increasingly, has become a wise return on investment in attracting environmentally conscious tenants that tend to be an upscale, desirable group of renters.
The survey underscores an opportunity for rental property owners to appeal to residents that seek a greener, healthier lifestyle. A smoke-free community was most coveted, with energy-and-water-efficient features not far behind. Communities that have high bike-walk scores or have proximity to public transit are also in demand, according to the survey.
The most requested green features were recycling and composting, solar panels, and community gardens.
Investment property owners who want to paint their apartment community green can also pursue other sustainable elements:
- energy-efficient appliances and lighting
- plumbing that reduces water consumption
- community recycling programs
- native plant use in landscaping to reduce water needs
- electric car charging stations
- bike storage and repair
- low or no VOC building materials
- air ventilation
- premium air filters
AMLI vice president of sustainability Erin Hatcher attributes renter interest in sustainability to a variety of reasons.
Some have indicated they enjoy the health and wellness benefits that come with sustainability; others like the idea of being part of a larger movement in sustainability that’s reducing their carbon footprint; and then some just, frankly, love to save on their utilities.
In our earlier article on employing technology to capture and retain millennial renters, we predicted that landlords who stubbornly cling to the old way of doing things may be left to the wayside. In the same spirit, rental property owners owe it to themselves to explore green features and keep up with the evolving landscape of sustainability.
At Bay Property Group, we are constantly innovating and pushing forward to better connect your rental property with the right tenants and maintain those relationships. This is just one component of a comprehensive approach to managing your real estate investment and ensuring the success of your business.