I just recently implemented a “Waste Management” program at a 4 unit property. Now before you start thinking that I hired environmental engineers wearing haz-mat suits, I must confess it’s not all that complex.
The City of San Diego has weekly trash pick up and every other week recyclable pick ups. Black can= trash, blue can=recyclables.Recycling is mandatory in San Diego—-but it seems tenants really don’t care. (But that’s a whole other blog post.) I recycle just about everything, so I throw out a very small bag of trash weekly into the black can. (Hey I grew up in New England—-we re-use just about everything.)
The containers come in 3 different sizes, and we just downsized to 32 gallon cans from 96 gallon cans. I ask you, how can ONE tenant fill up a 96 gallon can with trash in ONE week—- if they diligently recycle and aren’t disposing of human bodies? They can’t. So they are really forced into recycling. I have also noticed a huge difference in the fly population.
Another area that owners are too lax on is the storage of personal items in common areas: sporting equipment, planters, shoes, towels etc. I know it may seem harsh, but if there is so much as a shoelace in the courtyard, tenants are asked to please remove the item. Think about: year after year, the accumulation of items and before you know it, you’re living next door to the Beverly Hillbillies! Move out days are monitored closely because it’s just too convenient to leave your stuff behind for someone else to clean up.
Each tenant has a personal yard—fenced in for their enjoyment. One of the rules of the private yard is no indoor furnishings or items that extend beyond the fence (surfboards, skis, etc). Types of plantings must be cleared through management (think about non-indigenous or– **gasp**– illegal species, or ones with root systems that could destroy foundations). Private yards littered with junk kind of defeat the purpose of having outside space.
The difference in a property that has a strict trash management program and one that doesn’t is significant. Your clean and well maintained property will bring you a higher rent, better quality tenant and faster appreciation.