Yahoo news: Call for energy rules, not cheap loans, for landlords

Home owners may welcome cheap loans for double-glazing or battery-ready solar but making negative gearing conditional on upgrades has been suggested as more effective for landlords.

Research shows up front costs are not the largest barrier to rental property investments in solar, and it may be the same for energy upgrades, energy expert Bjorn Sturmberg has warned.

Property investors do not believe spending money on new energy sources and appliances will get them higher rents – that’s the biggest barrier, Dr Sturmberg said on Wednesday.

This suggests the federal budget’s offer of low-cost finance for energy upgrades is not the right incentive if the government wants to help renters.

The budget included $1 billion to create a Household Energy Upgrades Fund, with Australia’s green bank to work with lenders to roll out cheap loans to consumers.

But making negative gearing tax concessions for property investors conditional on minimum energy efficiency performance of rental properties could be more powerful, Dr Sturmberg said.

Banks should also make finance conditional making rental properties energy efficient and fully electric, he said.

Also, educating property managers about solar and energy efficiency could boost energy knowledge and influence the choices of consumers and residential property investors.

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