Systematic review: Landlords’ willingness to retrofit energy efficiency improvements

Michaela Lang, Ruth Lane, Kun Zhao, Stephanie Tham, Katrina Woolfe, Rob Raven

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Energy efficiency of privately rented homes is poorer than that of owner-occupied properties in many countries across Europe, North America and Australasia. Small-scale private landlords are the key decision makers for energy efficiency improvements for most rental properties. These landlords’ energy efficiency retrofit decisions are poorly understood. This paper aims to synthesise existing research examining small-scale landlords’ energy efficiency decisions. A systematic review was conducted according to the specifications of the PRISMA checklist. Sixteen academic and grey literature databases were searched, with 16 papers eligible for inclusion in the review. From these papers, a total of 47 factors were identified that potentially influence landlords’ willingness to retrofit. The strongest available evidence relates to financial factors, which were more frequently studied than other factors. However, the wide range of factors identified in this review indicates that retrofitting in rental properties is not a purely financial consideration. Complexities in managing rental properties; landlord-tenant relationships; landlords’ values, beliefs, and knowledge; and property market factors were all found to affect retrofitting. The paper highlights the need for landlord-specific energy efficiency research, particularly to confirm the influence of many factors in different social and regulatory contexts. A conceptual model of landlords’ energy efficiency retrofitting behaviour is proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number127041
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2021


  • Private rental sector
  • Private landlords
  • Domestic energy efficiency
  • Systematic review
  • Retrofit
  • Household energy

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