Thursday, December 15, 2011

How to Convince Your Landlord to Go Green

Just because the environment is important to you doesn’t meant that it is important to your landlord. Some changes (like changing to energy-efficient light bulbs) you can make without your landlord’s consent. However, for larger changes, you’re going to need your landlord’s approval, and you may even need to ask him or her to pay for upgrades. How can you convince your landlord to go green? Here are a few tips:

Talk about Long-Term Cost Benefits

Many eco-friendly decisions will pay off for your landlord in the long term, even if you’re asking for him or her to spend some money upfront right now. For example, although it might cost more to upgrade to energy-efficient appliances, utility costs will drop. Even if tenants pay for utilities, having brand-new energy efficient appliances allows your landlord to raise rent for future tenants because he or she can talk about the low energy bills.

Offer to Pay for Some of the Costs Yourself

If it’s viable for you and you feel passionate enough about it, offer to pay for some of the upgrades yourself. Keep in mind that you will be improving a property you don’t own, but if you intend to stay in the rental for a long time, it might be worth the cost. (If that’s the case, make sure you sign a long-term lease.) Even offering to split the cost of an environmentally friendly upgrade could convince your landlord to say yes.

Use Upgrades as Part of Rent Negotiation

If you’re signing a new lease or your current lease is set to expire and you’re looking to renew, you can use green renovations as a negotiating point. Landlords who want more rent money will often agree to do some upgrades, especially if the unit needs to be repaired anyway. For example, if the last tenant ruined the carpets, ask that they be replaced with eco-friendly flooring option.

Be a Great Tenant

Lastly, if you want your landlord to make changes that are going to cost him or her money, you have to be the type of tenant they want to help. This goes beyond just paying your rent on time (though that’s a start). Be friendly. Keep your unit extremely clean and well-maintained. Take care of small problems yourself rather than calling your landlord every week. Have a friendly relationship with your neighbors. If you’re the type of tenant that a landlord wants to keep around, he or she will be more likely to make the changes you request.

This guest post is from Allison with, where you can purchase a great renters insurance policy to financially protect your rental unit, no matter how environmentally-friendly you are.

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