My first thought with what you posted is not to get the meters in so much as what is driving the price per pad so high… Is the $66 average normal for your area? Our units tend to use around $20 in water and trash service runs between 7-12.50 per unit which totals 27-37.50. (our tenants pay for trash)
You might just live in a more costly area and your price could be normal there but it seems over all to be high to me. If there is a problem that is causing you to send $26+ per pad down the drain it needs fixed!
One of our parks had waterline problems, needed low flow shower heads, and every unit needed the toilets retro fitted, the average water bill was running $300+ for 7 units. ($43 per) We upgraded the water lines ($1000) installed low flow shower heads, and replaced the flappers, and added an 8th unit to the water system… water bills have come down to an average of about $100 ($12.50 per unit) after we did the upgrades, we were also able to get a discount from the water company for water conservation & keeping the water in our name. They said to many park tenants skip owing them money and it was better for them to have us paying it (We have to install city approved meters that they get to keep, it was kinda weird being told by someone they don’t want to get something for free!)
Our total cost was right around $1200 plus a little for labor to upgrade the park with water conservation items and new water lines (we installed black rolled line encased in concrete at road crossings with rented equipment) giving us a return on the investment of somewhere around 200% and an equity gain of around $20,000 on this little park.
Even on owner occupied units I recommend installing low flow shower heads and new toilet flappers on every unit, integrated with installing individual meters I think this can bring HUGE returns to park owners. Why install new items when they are going to pay the bill? It’s a feel good factor and reduces the total consumption which most owners are going to have to pay before they collect the bill back money.
It’s up to you if you are going to reduce the lot rent but I don’t see a reason, if the tenants feel they are getting something good out of it ITSTEAD of a rent increase I don’t see a reason to reduce the lot rent. My approach would be the excess water consumption has left us with two choices… Raise the rents or install meters so that everyone only pays for what they are actually using and I even got the partners to let me pay for adding a couple water saving devices to your home for you…
Ryan Needler (who humbly remains the monkey that does “the man’s” dirty work)