LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Some landlords in Los Angeles are proposing a new way to conserve water: have tenants in rent-controlled buildings pay their own water bills.

The Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles is a group that represents landlords and is lobbying the mayor to support the proposal.

In exchange, the group says, rent will be reduced and believes the measure will increase water conservation.

“It worked for tenants and owners alike this way,” said Arnie Corlin, director of the apartment association.

Corlin says he has proof from his two side-by-side identical apartment buildings that in buildings with a master meter, tenants used more water.

“The building with the master meter, the tenants have actually used twice the amount of water the other building has used,” he said.

“In terms of conservation, it does make sense,” said Joseph Mullins, a downtown LA resident. “If you’re going to be paying for something, you’ll think twice about leaving the faucet running or being in the shower and if it could result in rent reduction, that’s great.”

Under the proposal, tenants wouldn’t get their own meters. Instead, how much each tenant paid would be determined by an independent billing company.

“You go by number of facilities in a unit. You can go by number of occupants in a unit, that type of thing,” Corlin said.

But critics say bills should be based on actual use and not on a formula.

“Some people do use water more than others. Honestly, I don’t use that much water. So that might be a problem,” said Alicia Garcia, another downtown LA resident.

If adopted, the change would only apply to new tenants, Corlin said.

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