Successful landlords are by necessity savvy financial operators. Regardless of their market or target clientele, all residential investors need to carefully balance their operating costs, maintain their properties, and forge positive relationships with their tenants. Unlike ordinary homeowners, these entrepreneurs have little room to splurge on additions, upgrades, or anything more expensive than a quick polish-and-fix. Understandably, making sustainable alterations tends to rest low on their priority list. That said, Jason Cohen of the real estate advising forum Jason Cohen Pittsburgh would argue that investing in sustainable measures makes long-term financial sense, even if the up-front bill is intimidating.


Consider this: According to analysts at the Energy Resource Center, a water faucet that drips once per second wastes approximately 2,700 gallons of water per year – an insane financial waste by anyone’s standards. Moreover, even that hypothetical number doesn’t take into account the cost imposed by ineffective heating systems or old lightbulbs. The costs of unsustainable living are quiet and easy to miss: a leaky faucet here, a poorly-maintained water heater there. Switching to more sustainable systems can help landlords save thousands on a single property, and is thus well-worth the time, effort, and money conversion requires. Below, Jason Cohen outlines a few ideas that sustainably-minded landlords should consider adopting.


Work sustainability into tenant agreements

Oftentimes, efforts towards residential sustainability are hindered by rental agreements. After all, a landlord has little reason to invest his or her funds in making a property sustainable when the tenant pays utility costs, and the tenant has no financial incentive to live sustainably if they split their living costs with those who don’t consider sustainability a priority. However, landlords and tenants alike can circumvent this motivational barrier by instituting a green lease: an agreement which sets mutually beneficial, cost-saving expectations at the outset.


Invest in sustainable features

Sustainability doesn’t need to be expensive. Even changes as small as installing energy-efficient light bulbs and efficient showerheads can significantly limit energy waste and bring down utility costs. Keeping on top of service requests for problems such as leaky faucets will likewise limit waste and foster tenant goodwill.


Mind the Drafts

All tenants need to be warm – but the goal should be to keep heat in, not compensate for warmth lost to windows and cracks! Keeping a building warm and sustainable requires excellent insulation. Sustainable landlords should consider periodically caulking cracks and investing in heat-shrink plastic wrap during the winter seasons.


For more landlord best practices and advice, please visit Jason Cohen’s site at!