Re­bates to limit hikes in rent?

City to mull rules for land­lords in en­ergy im­prove­ment pro­gram.

Austin American-Statesman - - B METRO & STATE - By Mar­tytoohey mtoohey@states­man.com Rents B

Austin land­lords who re­ceive city re­bates for en­ergy ef­fi­ciency im­prove­ments may be re­quired to limit rent in­creases for two years.

Con­sumer ad­vo­cates say apart­ment build­ing own­ers get a good deal when the city pays for bet­ter air con­di­tion­ers, in­su­la­tion, duct work and other im­prove­ments that lower en­ergy con­sump­tion. They ar­gue that if the im­prove­ments trig­ger higher rents, the pub­licly funded help for ten­ants is washed out.

“Th­ese pro­grams are in­tended to ben­e­fit the ten­ant,” said City Coun­cil Mem­ber Kathie Tovo, who pro­posed bar­ring rent in­creases by apart­ment land­lords look­ing to re­coup what­ever they pay for en­ergy im­prove­ments or take ad­van­tage of a more mar­ketable unit. “There are other ben­e­fits (to en­ergy ef­fi­ciency) … but it just struck me that in the ab­sence of such a pro­vi­sion, a sig­nif­i­cant amount of pub­lic money could be spent on pri­vate prop­erty with­out mak­ing it any more af­ford­able for the peo­ple who

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