The carrot and the stick: Policy pathways to an environmentally sustainable rental housing sector

Publication Name

Energy Policy


As the impacts from climate change are progressively being felt around the globe, there is an increasing urgency in the need for policymakers to find ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The rental housing sector offers one such clear opportunity to reduce CO emissions. However, there has been a lack of consensus regarding the policies that would best deliver a sustainable rental sector. Building on calls in the literature to examine policy mix solutions for this conundrum, a Policy Delphi methodology, using both qualitative and quantitative techniques, identified seven key policy areas. These were divided into carrot policies (tax incentives, rebates and grants); cusp policies, that are neither clearly carrot nor stick, but often have a leaning towards one or other (loans, energy arrangements, improved rental rights); and stick policies (minimum standards, mandatory disclosure). Minimum performance standards, rebates and tax incentives were identified as the most effective policy solutions by the expert panel. Findings suggest that any policy mix should include both carrot and stick policies. When integrated with the existing ‘enabling forces’ literature, a model emerges that highlights the policy pathways to an environmentally sustainable rental housing sector. 2

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Article Number


Funding Sponsor

University of Wollongong



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