Boulder is getting tough on rentals.
In its bid to actually meet the carbon-cutting goals laid out by the Kyoto Protocol (to 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012) the city has realized that it has to find some way to make landlords step up to the energy-efficiency plate.
The problem is the “split incentive.” Why pay to upgrade a rental unit when you’re not footing the monthly energy bill?
And in a university town like Boulder, where rentals make up more than 50 percent of the housing stock, getting landlords on board is key.
This week, the city unveiled a proposed set of point-based rules for a program it calls “SmartRegs.”
Under the program, landlords would be required to make improvements that could include installing energy-efficient appliances, sealing ducts or better insulating.
The city’s overall goal is to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions coming from homes by 94,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide by 2012. The SmartRegs program, it’s estimated, could make up about 45,000 tons of that goal.
If approved, rental properties would be required to achieve 100 “points” — including two points of mandatory water conservation — based on a lengthy list of possible improvements.
Boulder has curbside composting! Awesome!
Except in certain places! Less awesome!
Yeah, curbside composting is really awesome, but if you happen to live in a multifamily situation, like a lot of Boulder renters, you’re out of luck.
But here’s a little story for you: Read more
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
Students at the University of Colorado — enraged by their ridiculous utility bills — are telling landlords that it’s time to suck it up and green up.
A University of Colorado student group is calling for Boulder landlords to work with student renters to increase the energy efficiency of rental properties so, as one group member said, students don’t get “cheated out of their money” when it comes time to pay their monthly energy bill.
“Oh my gosh, that totally happened to me,” said CU junior Nora Keane, who rents a two-bedroom house in the University Hill neighborhood. The 20-year-old had never lived on her own when she went looking for an apartment during the spring semester of her freshman year.
After looking at several run-down places, she came across what she thought was a perfect deal: a neat house near the corner of 19th Street and Aurora Avenue. She said she spent five minutes inside before agreeing to take it. She didn’t notice that there was no dishwasher. She overlooked the mold in the bathroom. And she didn’t ask how much she could expect to pay for utilities.”When my mom asked if I did, I got mad,” Keane said. “I was like, ‘No, it’s perfect.’”
Now, Keane said, she wishes she had. On top of $700 in rent, she and her roommate shell out about $60 a month for energy, an expense Keane said is made worse by the house’s drafty doors.
Read the fully story at DailyCamera.com.