Work with Your Landlord

Renting is no longer just a stopgap between living with parents and owning a home. As the private rental sector has grown, long-term renting has become much more common. Currently, people on low incomes are more likely to be renters and increasingly high energy costs means that inefficient rental housing is compounding social disadvantage, through higher power bills and poor health. 

Rental properties often lack energy efficiency because of “split incentives. Split incentive is when landlords pay for utilities, they make make their properties more energy efficient, but tenants are more likely to overuse energy. When tenants pay for utilities, they are more conservative with their energy consumption, but landlords have less motivation to make the properties more energy efficient. Both scenarios lead to higher levels of wasted energy and highlight the difficulties associated with conserving energy in rental properties.

As of July 2019, there is no state-wide energy disclosure policy in place for Minnesota, but the Cities of Minneapolis and Bloomington enacted one for homes sold after 2021 and 2022 respectively. Disclosure policies require commercial and/or residential building owners to disclose their building’s energy consumption to prospective buyers, lessees, or lenders. Disclosure laws improve consumers’ awareness of the energy use of homes and buildings, which can have a significant impact on its economic value. Building owners must gather energy use data in order to comply with disclosure requirements, a critical step in identifying and prioritizing energy efficiency upgrades. 

Bridging the tenant-landlord divide is an important first step in having a more energy efficient rental unit. Good landlords desire to rent out properties to good tenants. By being straightforward with your landlord and asking questions pertaining to the efficiency of the unit, you make it clear that you care about the quality of the space you are living in. 

Talk to your landlord about scheduling a free home energy audit to find no-cost and low-cost ways to go green and reduce monthly utility bills.

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