One major obstacle tends to come up again and again as the city of Boulder tries to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a little thing known as the “split incentive,” and here’s the problem. A large portion of Boulder’s carbon footprint comes from houses… and more than half of the houses in Boulder are rentals. But landlords don’t have much of an incentive to make their properties more energy efficient because they’re not paying the utility bill.
To combat the problem, the city is in the process of passing rules that would make landlords step up to the green plate. (And as you can imagine, the rental owners association is less than thrilled.) Here’s a look at what the new “SmartRegs” would do:
Require landlords to make energy-efficiency improvements to their properties. Owners could prove their properties are efficient through a performance test or by reaching 100 points on a lengthy list of available improvements. The program would likely be phased in over four to eight years.
Replace most of the city’s housing code with the 2009 International Property Maintenance Code.
Increase the cost of a rental license from $46 to $60.
Adopt a $250 investigative fee to charge landlords who don’t respond to renewal notices, or whose properties are found to violate city code after a complaint.