The renting crisis

You pay too much for utilities. We want to change that.

In the states, we’re experiencing a bit of a renting crisis. The cost of living continues to rise. Average income doesn’t rise quickly enough. And renters — now making up a larger and larger portion of the population — have little control over spending in their lives.

Currently, 35% of Americans rent. That’s over a hundred million residents. And they’re spending 25% of their monthly income on rent and utilities alone, based on an average income of around $4k a month.

What do we do about this? Or do we do anything? This is becoming the norm. And for most people, the only answer seems to be to buckle down and bear it. After all, even if you could bring your utility bill down — maybe fix the leaky sink, or use the dryer less — there’s nothing that can be done about the rent itself.

Right?

Well. Maybe not. Maybe there’s an answer that gives renters control over their spending. And influences their base rent.

Let’s talk about what’s going on with both sides of the equation — on the side of the property manager, and the side of the resident. And let’s see if we can’t draw out how to lighten the load for both sides. That way, maybe, we can see how to help out the common renter.

And let’s address why we think we’re the answer.

The property manager

In the multifamily industry, $80b is spent on utilities, maintenance, and repairs. Annually. Costs are high for property managers. Between paying for vacant units, common areas, and sometimes utilities, property managers are forced to do what they can to make profit.

They wrestle with appliances put in by developers, and react to appliances breaking down in their units. They require insight into their properties, and the ability to lower operating costs.

The resident

The average resident spends $197 per month on utilities. This includes renters and homeowners. For renters, this $197 cost is part of — or on top of — an average rent of around $934 per month.

Renters can’t change the appliances they have, they can do nothing to lower their base rent, they face increased living expenses and at most times decreasing average incomes. They can’t see how to effectively lower their utility bills.

The take home

So. What’s the real problem here?

Overspending, and no access to needed data.

We currently live in an era were everything is about leveraged data. As just one example, think about Google Maps. They receive data on traffic and other road hazards, and leverage it by giving updated reports on fastest routes to their clients.

What property managers and residents need is the renter’s version of Google Maps. They need access to data on their exact spending — and breakdowns of where it’s occurring. And, they need leverage. They need the ability to do something with that knowledge.

If property managers could run their properties more efficiently, they would have the opportunity to lower base rents. Or, at least not increase them. And if residents could produce actual savings, then they could lower their utility bills. Both parties could work together to spend less.

The renter wouldn’t have to spend 25% of their income on rent and utilities anymore. That wouldn’t have to be “the norm.”

That’s the goal of PowerSage. Google Maps updates on travel times, displaying heavy traffic on the route to work. We report on monthly spending, revealing appliance performance issues. We monitor energy data for both property managers and their residents. We report to both, teach each to be efficient, and create a communicative pathway between them.

With more and more apartments being built each year, and the number of renters rising, we need solutions to the high costs of renting. We want to be one of those solutions. Certainly we won’t be the last step, but we can be the first in the right direction.