“At Livable, we want to keep residents and property owners up to date on issues that impact everyone in the rental market. We sympathize with tenants having financial issues, especially in the current inflationary climate. But we also recognize that housing providers are investors. Livable helps protect the health of those investments while educating residents on conservation, which saves everyone money and helps the planet.” - Livable CEO Daniel Sharabi
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Rent control refers to legislation restricting rental rates in a city or state. The maximum rent that can be charged for a unit and the amount that the rent can be increased per year varies per municipality. Cities use rent control laws to regulate the housing market.
“At Livable, our goal has always been to help save the environment while also saving apartment owners money by making residents responsible for their utility usage. We have seen that making tenants more aware of their usage can create significant savings. But just how much those savings might be can vary greatly by location, depending on local utility rates. With that in mind, read on to find out where your city ranks in the below list of most and least expensive utility costs” - Daniel Sharabi - CEO
Apartment List showed in 2021 Honolulu in the top spot with an average of just under $90, with second-place Oxnard, California coming in at $83. The West Coast dominates the list of the most expensive average water bills in the U.S. as of 2021 - San Diego took the third-most-expensive spot with $79. San Jose, Sacramento, Seattle, San Francisco, Stockton and Portland all made it into the top ten as well. In the tenth position, with an average water bill of $63 per month, Virginia Beach was the only East Coast city to break into the top ten.
The East Coast tended to be among the cheapest places for water bills, with Upstate New York leading the way. Albany had the least-expensive average water bill at just over $20 a month, but Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo all had water bills under $30 a month as well.
Honolulu also took first for the most-expensive gas bill and was the only city in the survey to break $90 a month for this utility. Other than that, most of the other most-expensive gas cities were in colder cities since gas bills are often an indication of high heating costs. Detroit, Buffalo, Omaha, Chicago and Boston all had average gas bills above $80 a month.
Electricity was by far the biggest single bill in all markets and the only utility that didn’t seem to follow a particular geographic pattern. Birmingham, Alabama took the top spot with an average electric bill close to $200 a month. Augusta, Georgia and Memphis, Tennessee all had bills that came in around $180 a month, which we can assume is due in part to higher cooling costs in the south. Connecticut also had several cities in the top ten, because electrical transmission rates are higher in the Northeast, as are land costs for building power plants. Boise, Idaho had the lowest total average utility bill at $186.
Due in large part to its $184 a month average electric bill, Bridgeport, Connecticut has the highest total utility cost of any city in the U.S., coming in at a whopping $353 per month for residents there.
Whether you're on the West Coast, East Coast, and everywhere in between, it's always smart to separate rent from utilities! Don’t let high energy usage take you by surprise, Livable’s user-friendly Property Manager Dashboard makes it easy to see what’s happening at your building and immediately increases the value of your asset. Book a call with a Livable team member today to start saving!
An easy and simple change you can make in your space is to switch to energy-efficient light bulbs such as LEDs that help reduce your bills. Regular incandescent bulbs use heat instead of light to release most of their energy. The modern LED style bulbs save a lot of electricity and money over time as they are energy efficient and last ten times longer compared to regular bulbs.
Here We Go Again
It may be 2020 but it’s starting to feel like 2018 all over again. A big election is looming and tenant advocates are once again bringing a rent control measure to the California ballot.
At Livable we create custom utility management and cost recovery solutions for commercial and residential properties, and it seems our expertise is needed now more than ever! It used the be that the “American Dream” was synonymous with homeownership, however, Millennials don’t seem to be putting the same emphasis on buying property as previous generations, thus renting has become more the norm.
As we get ready to say goodbye to 2019, it’s only natural to look ahead. In addition to what is sure to be a heated national political season in 2020, there are several statewide measures in California to keep an eye on, including a possible overhaul of Prop. 13 and another proposition that would allow municipalities to extend rent control to most units that are at least 15 years old.
After ignoring the will of the voters, who just last year decided against loosening statewide restrictions on rent control, California state legislators recently passed a new law that will cap annual rent increases at 5 percent plus inflation.