Realizing that that it would be nearly impossible for Boulder to meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals without forcing landlords to make energy-efficiency upgrades to rental properties, the city is considering the best way to create such a mandate.
And Boulder is looking to other cities and towns for useful examples. Some are the usual suspects (Berkeley and Burlington), but others are not so often on the same wavelength as Boulder, including Houston and Palm Desert.
The ultimate goal is to force the upgrades — but to simultaneously create a program that would make it easy and cheap for landlords to comply.
Boulder is seeking a unique way of mending the debate between landlords and tenants on energy-efficiency — a single program for homeowners to meet proposed new standards.
The new energy-efficiency recommendations for rental housing have caused an uproar in Boulder, but there’s a second, private-sector arm to the city’s greenhouse gas reduction effort in residential spaces that has received less attention, and will ultimately help property owners meet whatever new standards come to pass. Read more
It’s not likely that any amount of convincing, or educating, or outreaching will convince landlords to make energy-efficiency upgrades to their rental properties. (Since tenants are the ones that usually pay the utility bills, it’s not a particularly attractive investment.)
So in Boulder — where 57 percent of all housing is rental housing — the city is considering a set of rules that would mandate upgrades.
Without such rules, advocates argue, there’s no way Boulder will ever meet its goal of complying with the Kyoto Protocol. But landlords are not psyched.
The proposed rules would tie the upgrade requirements to the existing rental-license renewal process, which happens every four years. Landlords would have to show that they’ve made necessary upgrades — or possibly that they’ve purchased carbon offsets to buy them more time to make the upgrades — before their licenses would be renewed.
The maximum necessary investment per rental unit would also likely be capped, possibly based on the value of the property.
Landlords across the city are “very frustrated,” said Sheila Horton, executive director of the Boulder Area Rental Housing Association. Read more