Getting Your Tenant Energy Benchmarking Release Back: 5 Collection Strategies That Work

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As a property manager, you know that one challenge can be getting the necessary paperwork distributed to - and back from - your tenants. And now you've decided to do an energy benchmarking exercise. In order for you to track and analyze the way your building is using water and energy, you must reach out to your tenants, requesting usage histories for the spaces they occupy.

All you need is a good plan for getting forms from your desk to your tenant's doors, and back again. There's no universal solution but the plan you develop will set the tone of how you engage with your tenants. Today, we'll outline different distribution and collection methods so you can think about which options might work best for you. They are listed in order by required time, from most time-intensive to least.

1. Door-to-Door: For both distribution and collection, find a time when most tenants will be home, then walk around your property. While time-intensive, distributing and collecting your releases in person provides an opportunity for you to connect with your tenant, to explain the importance of your project, and respond to any concerns and questions that your tenant may have. And in this manner, you can potentially distribute AND collect the form at the same time.

 2. Informational Meeting (For Distribution)Schedule an informational meeting to discuss your plans for improving the energy efficiency of the property, and how your tenant will benefit from these measures.Then walk them through the process of populating the form. Unless you ask tenants to bring copies of their bills to the meeting, you'll need to work out a separate collection system.

3. Routine Mailer/Newsletter (For Distribution): If you regularly send a newsletter or other mail to your tenants, consider enclosing your release form with it. If you produce a newsletter, do a feature on the tenant release form. Add a pre-addressed, stamped envelope to the newsletter for easy distribution.

4. Mailing Your Release (For Distribution and Collection): Old-fashioned snail mail is definitely a viable option here. And it's a great option if you don't have a lot time to spare on the project.

5. Tenant Energy Efficiency or "Green" Party (For Collection): Throw a party for your tenants! Their entry fee? A completed release form!

Which Method is Right for You?

The best strategy for you will depend on the physical layout of your development, the communication style and technological savviness of your tenants, and your relationship with them.

Your overall strategy may involve combining multiple techniques;. We find that property managers who experience the greatest success in their release process make it as easy as possible for tenants to complete and return forms.

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