Pro-social concerns characterise landlords’ energy efficiency retrofit behaviour: evidence and implications for energy efficiency policy in Victoria, Australia

Michaela Lang, Kun Zhao, Ruth Lane, Rob Raven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Internationally, rental properties have fewer energy efficiency features than other homes, causing unnecessary carbon emissions and poor health outcomes for tenants. Landlords are the primary decision-makers for energy efficiency retrofitting of rental properties, yet their retrofit behaviour is not well understood. We surveyed 500 small-scale private landlords in Victoria, Australia, to examine how a range of variables impacted landlords’ energy-efficient retrofitting. Landlords who installed more retrofits were more likely to have greater concern for tenants’ comfort, a relationship with the tenant, or greater knowledge of property conditions. Despite the existing literature and in contrast to the research on owner-occupiers, financial variables, environmental concerns, and sociodemographic variables were not associated with landlords’ retrofitting. We propose that policies may be more effective if they are framed in pro-social (rather than pro-environmental or financial terms) and convey information about the impact of property conditions on tenants’ wellbeing.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Housing Policy
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • domestic energy efficiency
  • Energy efficiency
  • landlords
  • rental housing
  • retrofit

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