Tag Archives: Green Cities

Go green!

Hey there all you renters, landlords, property owners and property managers. Today at Home Town Rent we will talk about plants. They are, without any doubt, beautiful and allow us to decorate the living room, kitchen or bedroom. Their scent is also very good for the house environment to be much more enjoyable. However, the most important thing about them is that they generate oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide, just like trees. When plants are placed indoor they help purify the air by absorbing contaminants and gases.

In 1989, NASA conducted a study to determine the most appropriate plants to achieve this mission in an enclosed space. Here we present the top 5 plants according to Bill Wolverton, principal author of the research.

  1. Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
  2. Spath or Peace Lilies (Spathiphyllum)
  3. The Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa)
  4.  Mother-in-law’s tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata)
  5.  Rubber bush (Ficus robusta)

How can Pothos help at home?

This plant has the capacity to clean and maintain the air of the place where it is completely renovated. Pothos remove, for example, substances found in furniture made of wood. Another benefit that Pothos offers is that it helps eliminate odors.

How can Peace Lilies help at home?

This species is capable of absorbing electromagnetic waves that can be generated by various appliances like TV, our mobile or the microwave. In addition, the Spathiphyllum is one of the best air filters.

How can The Lady Palm help at home?

This palm can be inside and outside, however inside the house or condo, it can eliminate harmful gases in the air such as ammonia and other volatile organic compounds that are harmful to our health.

How can Mother-in-law’s tongue help at home?

The mother-in-law’s tongue has a wonderful function inside our house, condominium or duplex; while you sleep, the Sansevieria trifasciata is responsible for converting carbon dioxide into oxygen and you use its medicinal properties in tea.

How can Rubber bush help at home?

It is effective in removing formaldehyde from the air that can come from the tailpipe emissions from cars, and prevent us from burning sensation in the eyes, nose and throat; cough; nausea and skin irritation.

These plants apart from making your home look fresher and more radiant, they have an immense benefit to your health so do not hesitate to get one, and if you have a small house, an apartment or duplex, you have no excuse because these plants are small and perfect for interiors.

Go Green!

Garbage Day

Hey there all you Landlords, Tenants and Property Owners. This week, we’re talking about a certain special day of the week. No, it’s not Tuesday. Or maybe it is, depending on where your rental property is. Anyways, this time on the Hometown Rant, we’re talking about garbage day.

Western Civilization is founded on a few key principles, and one of them is that the municipality in which you live has a system for dealing with the refuse associated with the average consumer lifestyle. In order to keep a populace olfactorily satisfied, you need to deal with all the trash.

So what does this have to do with you as a Renter, Landlord or Property Owner? Well it should be pretty obvious. As a renter, unless you’ve created some sort of perfectly sustainable mecca within your rental property you’re going to have to get rid of stuff every week. As a Landlord or Property Owner, you don’t want your tenants to fill your property with trash, so you want to make it as easy for them as possible to deal with it themselves.

Cities and Towns often charge a fee for garbage collection, usually monthly. Landlords who have the option might want to pay for this up front and add the amount to the tenant’s rent. This will create less individual bills for the tenants to worry about, reducing the chances that a bill goes unpaid and your rental property becomes a dump that you’ll have to clean up later. Whatever you decide though, make it clear in the lease who is supposed to take care of trash so there can be no confusion later on.

Renters are like it or not the people who will be dealing with the trash on a week to week basis. Gross, we know, but get over it. If you don’t like it, be cleaner. The main difficulty of waste disposal for you is going to be separating trash from recycling, and glass from that. Most cities have those categories, and some even have compost. Check out our earlier article for more on responsibly letting stuff rot in your yard.

The easiest way around the issue is to separate your trash as you throw it away, so that when it comes to garbage day you aren’t stuck digging through your own mess, or worse, left with a full can the morning after because you didn’t separate things right. Good Garbagemen and Garbagewomen don’t play–if your trash isn’t right, they won’t touch it. Get yourself a few of these guys to make your life easier, and know that you’re doing the world a favor by not letting people bury your used yogurt cups for the next hundred million years.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Don’t be a stranger:  Hometownrant@hometownrent.com


House Plants

Hey there all you renters, landlords and property owners. The season is changing once again. September is almost over, and with it goes the final hurrah of the summer season. The time for growing plants outside is coming to a close, so what better time for us to discuss how you can become more aesthetically floral and or vegetative in your rental property.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real thing. Less sunlight and less time spent outside can be incredibly detrimental to your psychological well being if you aren’t careful. While it isn’t necessarily a cure-all, keeping live plants in an area can help mitigate levels of stress and contribute to a healthier and happier lifestyle. Check out this study done at Kansas State if you don’t believe us.

Besides the potential psychological benefits, keeping well-maintained plants will just outright make your house, apartment or condo look way better. A healthy plant says something about you. It say hey, I care enough about stuff to not let this pretty thing die.  Isn’t that a message that you want to convey about yourself?

Let’s say you’re a renter in a house, apartment, condo, duplex or other rental property, and we’ve convinced you that you should get some plants. Where do you start? Probably with something fairly low maintenance, if you’re just getting into growing things. A quick google search yields a plethora of resources for figuring out what sort of plants you should get. Remember that even though you’re inside, some things may be locationally dependent, so make sure to take that into account if when making a decision.

On the other hand, you might be a landlord or property owner looking for renters, or looking for a way to improve the quality of your renter’s experience. One way to do this might be to better accommodate for house plants, or possibly even to provide some if your property comes already furnished. Consider installing some hooks by sunny windows to allow for hanging plants, and make sure to advertise that your rental property is equipped for tenants to keep plants indoors. Not only will you attract tenants, you’ll likely attract tenants who are motivated and clean enough to maintain house plants. Bonus!


Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Send it on over: Hometownrant@hometownrent.com


Feng Shui: Is it Feng Shuinal?

Hey there all you renters, landlords and property owners out there! If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered now and again about feng shui. What is it? Where does it come from? Can it improve your house, apartment, condo, duplex or tree dwelling? Lucky for you, the Hometown Rant has sifted through the clutter to find the inner qi, and with it are the answers you’ve been searching for this whole time. They lie within.

Let’s start with the basics. A quick trip to wikipedia will tell you that feng shui is a philosophical system of harmonizing everyone with the surrounding environment. Sounds like a noble goal right? We think so. But how can you harness your renter or landlord qi and channel it through your rental property for maximum benefits.

Originally, feng shui was all about orienting human dwellings according to astronomical observations, and later it also came to include compass directions, aligning structures in relation to the earth’s magnetic field. In 1951, professor Max Knoll suggested that qi, the central life force according to feng-shui, is actually solar radiation, and that the levels of qi fluctuate according to space weather. Whoa.

If you’re not sure how all that relates to you and your rental property, don’t worry. We don’t know either. Feng shui’s transformation from ancient chinese art to headey pseudo-scientific discipline to kitschey hipster home decorating mantra is one that could only have taken place across centuries, like a metaphysical game of telephone. If it’s stuck around this long though, it must be that some of the principles have some merit to them. Most human structures are oriented loosely based on the magnetic compass–in most cities, terrain permitted, roads run north-south and east-west.

You may have noticed this already, but if not, figure out which side of your rental property faces east. The sun will shine in the eastern-facing windows in the morning, so that might be a good room for an early riser. If you’re a property owner or landlord looking to add a porch to your house or cottage, you might consider putting it on the western side so your tenants can watch the sunset.

Fengshui.com has a whole list of further reading about how to make your home positionally feng shuisionally sensational for you to peruse, but again, some principles are more useful than others.

Things like reducing clutter in your home or apartment are great suggestions–embrace your inner ascetic and throw out all that old junk mail and that weird painting you got at the thrift store. Other things, like placing wooden feng shui elements in the eastern area of your house to improve your health, may not be as useful as actually going to the doctor and getting that rash checked out. In fact, yeah, you should go do that.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Holla at us: Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

The Subletter Letters

Summer is always a complicated time for everyone in the world of renting. People are moving out, moving in, going on vacation or just buckling down to make some extra cash at a Summer job. Often renters are looking to either find or fill some space just for a few months, and the most common way to do that is to sublet a room in the house, apartment or loft. However, if not done right, subletting can be a nightmare for renters and landlords alike, so this week on the Hometown Rant, we’re learnin’ you all on how to fill your extra space without causing you extra headaches.

So what exactly is a sublet, or sublease? For those of you who don’t know, it’s an arrangement whereby the original tenant on the lease allows a third party to lease the space from them, assuming all or a part of the financial responsibility of the first tenant. In other words, it’s when you let your friend stay in your room and pay rent while you’re back home for the summer. Lawdepot.com has a good FAQ for anyone still confused, but you shouldn’t be. The concept itself is pretty basic. The problems almost always come in with the implementation.

As a landlord, you should decide before you even find original tenants if you’re open to the idea of letting them sublet your rental property. Allowing tenants to sublet a room in the house or apartment will make your property more attractive, but it’ll also require a little more oversight from you, since in doing so you’re trusting your renters judgement about who to let stay on your property. That being said, the original tenant is still responsible for fulfilling their terms on the lease regardless of what the subletter does or doesn’t do, so if you’ve written your original lease properly, you’ll still have someone legally liable for the damage or the unpaid rent.

The people who really have to be careful subletting are the renters who are taking on the responsibility of becoming a sub-landlord themselves. When you let someone else take over your lease, you have to trust them to be able to hold up their end of it, since your name and money are still going to be on the line. Subleases are a great way to find out who your real friends are when they go sour, which is why you always want to draw up a contract have your subletter actually sign a sublease, even if you think they’re your best friend.

If they actually intend to follow through then they shouldn’t have a problem signing, and if they don’t want to, they’re probably actually a sketchball trying to put one over on you. Sorry if we forced the realization upon you, but trust us, it’s better you find out now than after they leave questionable stains on your mattress and let their junkie friends pawn off your furniture for drug money, then disappear without paying you thousands of dollars they owe. Hopefully you’re a better judge of character than that, but people can be deceptive. Make sure you have it in writing that they’ve agreed to pay you so you’ll have a leg to stand on if you do end up in court.

As a subletter, understand that whoever you’re subletting from has put their name on the line so you can have a roof over your head, and respect the house, apartment, loft or condo twice as much as you would normally. There’s a special place in renter hell for people who abuse the sacred trust of the sublease, and it’s not a place you want to be.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Holla at ya boys: Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

Composted Up

A few weeks ago on the hometown rant, we were talking gardens and what to grow in them, but what about what your garden is growing in? Composting isn’t just for hippy tree huggers anymore! Now it’s for everyone who doesn’t want their grandkids to live like this. Tenants and landlords alike can save money while saving the planet, all just by making dirt!

Why compost? Isn’t it just easier to throw everything away? Well maybe, yes, a little bit, but nothing worth doing is easy. If you still need convincing, imagine archaeologists in the future digging up a landfill and cloning you by DNA swabbing the easy-mac you threw out still in the tupperware. Gross. Isn’t it better to turn your waste into fertile soil that won’t leave behind traces of your genetic material for future generations to glean out of the trash. It could happen.

But how do I do it? Some cities now have municipal composting, and if you live in one of them then you’re in luck. Just put your food and yard waste in the bin provided and let them do it! Easy right? If you don’t live in such a city then you can devote your least favorite corner of your yard to be a compost pile and it might become your favorite corner. These guys have a whole bunch of helpful information for you to get started. Keep in mind though that if you’re composting yourself, you have to be more selective about what you use. Also, the amount of material you can compost at once will be limited to the size of your storage area, so you’ll have to pay more attention to the waste you create.

If you live in an apartment, loft, duplex or other type of closer-quarters situation, see if you can’t get your neighbors to compost communally if you have access to some shared outdoor space. A good neighbor will lend you some sugar–a great neighbor will give you all of their rotting veggies so you can turn it into healthy soil.

As a landlord in a city without a composting program, consider equipping your property with the capabilities for home compost. Not only will it make the place more attractive to the easygoing and eco-friendly crowd, it’ll help cut down on garbage bills, which is a plus for everyone involved. Now what are you waiting for? Get out there and let it rot!

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Get at us:  Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

Going Hard in the Garden

Spring is upon us, and at Hometown Rant, that means getting our hands dirty. With like, actual dirt. Growing things is a great way to pass the time, and improving your yard can improve the value of your property and make it more appealing to potential renters, or make you more appealing to that cutie next door. Trust us, people doing yard work look unbelievably sexy.

As a landlord or property owner, take a look at your house and the yard outside. A good place to start might be a few raised beds. They’re usually no more expensive than the wood to build them, and plans are easy to come by. You can fill these with dirt from the rest of the yard, or let renters get their own more fertile soil.

As a renter, it’s probably best to check with your landlord before taking the spade to the lawn, but as long as you come at them with a plan beyond I just wanted to dig, man, they’ll probably be reasonable. Go to your local nursery and see what they recommend for your climate and your growing situation. A good list to start could be:

green beans -  fresh or cooked.

tomatoes – Fresh salsa? Home-grown pasta sauce? What more do I need to say.

peppers - You can go as sweet or spicy as you want. Where are you on the scoville scale?

arugula – the workhorse of the salad that grows like nobody’s business.

basil – get yourself a bit of garlic and some olive oil and you’ll have the pesto that’s the best, yo!

If you live in an apartment, condo, loft, house-boat or any other dwelling without access to a patch of dirt, you could look into growing some herbs indoor. Settle down Cheech, not that kind of herbs. That’s definitely a violation of your lease. Your setup can be as fancy as this, or as simple as this. As long as they get light and water, they’ll do their thing, and if you get in any iron chef challenges, you’ll kick the taste-buds off anyone using their old, shriveled store-bought herbs.

Get your grown on and then get your home cooking on and invite the neighbors over to your house or apartment. Nothing is more baller than eating something that you actually made from start to finish, and people will think you’re some sort of magician if you can literally make something out of nothing. What are you waiting for? Get out there!

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Holla at us, we’ll holla back:  Hometownrant@hometownrent.com


Make your House more Eco Friendly

If you think smart, you can make your house more environmentally friendly with a limited budget. Here are a few ways you can achieve this:

  • Calculate how much energy you are currently using. You can do this by searching relevant sources online.
  • A skylight on your roof is always a good idea to illuminate a room. You would not need light bulbs.
  • Solar panels provide energy with the use of sunlight.
  • Low wattage light bulbs consume less energy.
  • Motion sensor light bulbs switch on and off as you enter or leave the room. So forgetting to switch the light off is totally fine.
  • Low flow toilet mechanisms save money and water.
  • Lastly, make a habit of switching everything off once you leave your room or house.

These points were taken from: http://www.wikihow.com/Create-an-Eco-Friendly-House.

Greener Homes in Greenest Cities

Are you looking for a home that lives up to your eco-friendly standards? Greener house are everywhere these days – or at least that is what they claim. However, nothing you do with your home can make a bigger greener difference unless the whole city works for it. Well, here is good news! There are a number of cities in the US where the government and citizens are all willing to bring about a greener change.

Let’s find out if one of them can be your next green move.

  • Austin Texas – Doesn’t sound green enough? Well, Austin is on the list of cities going ahead the green road. It currently has more than 800 utility programs to promote and support green energy.
  • Portland – Portland is often dubbed as one of the most bike-able cities in the US.
  • San Francisco – We are all waiting for the time they will change its name to the Green Silicon Valley.
  • Boston – Boston is striving hard to become the most sustainable city by 2015.
  • Oakland – It is perhaps the only city in the nation where you can drink tap water without fearing chemicals and bacteria.

The good news – there are more.