Climate change adaptation and the rental sector

Authors: Lesley Instone, Kathleen Mee, Jane Palmer, Miriam Williams and Nicola Vaughan
Year: 2013

Both tenants and property managers acknowledged that the current shortage of rental housing in many areas is one of the most important constraints on a tenants ability to influence the market through preference for more adaptive and sustainable housing. This study found that tenants interviewed were motivated by a concern about the impact of human activity on the environment, and exercised this concern through everyday sustainable household practices, as well as through engagement with community or political organisations. However, the tenants believed that their capacity to act in the home was inhibited by a lack of care from some landlords and property managers about the sustainability of rental housing. Overall, the interviews and focus groups with tenants and property managers mapped out a strong asset base in the rental sector including: tenants strong visions for the future; property managers understandings of the tenant/ landlord/ property manager relationships, legislation, costing and procurement processes; organisational and community networks; and existing adaptive capacity already evident in the everyday practices. This report makes recommendations in the following areas: increased support for an enhanced role for property managers as advocates and knowledge brokers for sustainability and adaptation, incentives and education for landlords to see investment properties as ethical investments to enable tenants to adapt to climate change, increased overall supply of rental housing, particularly affordable rental housing, increased assets for tenants to enable investments of time and money in a secure home, changes to tenancy conditions and better communication with landlords, and government action on regulatory change to support the above changes, including action on housing supply and a review of rental building sustainability standards.

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