Getting tenants to conserve water, especially if the landlord is picking up the bill, can be tricky. This week a landlord asks, “How do I motivate my tenants to conserve water?” Each week veteran landlord and property manager Hank Rossi answers questions from other landlords and property managers around the country about their rentals.

Dear Landlord Hank:

With the current water restriction in Los Angeles how do I motivate my tenants to conserve water when I’m paying the bill?”

-Landlady Lynn


Dear Landlady Lynn,

You can’t use economics to have tenants conserve since your wallet will be the one suffering from high water usage.

I’m assuming you have one water meter that handles every unit at your property?

What I’ve done at my properties where I have only one water meter for many units is to determine the highest bill, divide by the number of units and all NEW tenants are now going to be paying for the water.

You can’t change your current rental agreement but you could talk to tenants and make sure they are aware of the water crisis, also make sure you have no leaks anywhere.

You could also install conserving shower heads and toilets.

Make sure all new tenants, per your lease, know they are paying for water based upon consumption if you think the rate is likely to increase.


Hank Rossi

See some of Hank’s recent posts here:

Dear Landlord Hank:  How Do You Handle Tenant Roommates And Guests?

Landlord Hank: Why I Love Being A Property Manager And Landlord

Dear Landlord Hank: Should I Give A Tenant More Time To Pay?

Dear Landlord Hank: Is An Old Drug Conviction A Big Deal?

Dear Landlord Hank: How Do I Motivate My Tenants To Conserve Water?

Photo credit Rschlie via

About the author Landlord Hank:

“I started in real estate as a child watching my father take care of our family rentals- maintenance, tenant relations, etc. in small town Ohio. As I grew, I was occasionally Dad’s assistant. In the mid-90s I decided to get into the rental business on my own, as a sideline. In 2001, I retired from my profession and only managed my own investments, for the next 10 years. Six years ago, my sister, working as a rental agent/property manager in Sarasota, Florida convinced me to try the Florida lifestyle. I gave it a try and never looked back. A few years ago we started our own real estate brokerage. We focus on property management and leasing. I continue to manage my real estate portfolio here in Florida and Atlanta. “ Visit Hank’s website here.