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One of the most relevant topics today is water rationing. In Santa Cruz County, we have been under a severe water rationing policy for the last two years. Now, our governor in the State of California has mandated that the entire state must begin rationing water. So today we’re talking about what you can do as a landlord to ensure you don’t get fined for excessive water usage.

Local Programs

Go to your local city or county offices to find out what types of assistance programs are in place. In many cases, cities are providing rebates to tear out lawns that require water. They will reimburse you for putting in drought tolerant plants. In Santa Cruz, you can go to your water district offices and get low flow shower heads and water faucets. These are given to homeowners for free, and you can install them in your rental property. Make sure you’re using low flow toilets. These are examples of the things you can do to conserve water.

Minimizing Water Usage

If you have a duplex where water is included, talk to your tenants and make sure they see the bill so they know they’re staying within their water limits. In Santa Cruz, you are required to go to water school if you’re over the limit. In these cases, the landlord has to go, not the tenants. It’s similar to going to traffic court when you get a ticket on the road. Fines are becoming very severe, so make sure you review the water usage at your properties. Check for leaks and use low flow water devices. Install a drip system for landscaping or transition into hard-scape and dry-scape yards. People are becoming creative about recapturing water that comes off their roofs or using buckets in the shower that capture the water that’s wasted while waiting for the shower to get hot.

Water Rationing in Santa Cruz County: How to Avoid Fines as a Landlord by Portola Property ManagementThis is one of those situations that can be hard to judge. We don’t know how long we’ll be in a drought, but we need to be water-wise, especially when it comes to rental properties. If you have any questions about the water restrictions or anything else pertaining to your property, please contact us at Portola Property Management.