Supporting Sustainable Home Improvement in the Private Rental Sector: The View of Investors

Michelle Gabriel*, Phillipa Watson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


In this article, we examine the problem of how to support energy and water saving upgrades for sustainable home improvement in Australia's private rental sector. The study focuses on the views of private rental investors in recognition that tenant actions to minimise energy and water use are constrained by existing housing infrastructure. Moreover, it is the investor who bears the cost of any substantive improvements. The study is based on consultation with 52 private rental investors. While participants expressed broad support for sustainable home improvement, they also identified significant barriers to such investment including: high upfront and maintenance costs, lack of knowledge about the most effective energy and water saving options; the under-developed role of real estate agents in facilitating sustainable upgrades; and difficulties in obtaining consent across common and strata-titled property. In addition, our consultation highlighted the diverse nature of the sector, with some of the most intractable problems located in low-cost, ageing, strata-titled flats and units. While all segments of the market require consistency and stability in policy settings, there is a need for more specific consideration of the needs of investors and tenants in low-cost housing and strata-titled properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-325
Number of pages17
JournalUrban Policy and Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012
Externally publishedYes


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