Rebates to limit hikes in rent?
City to mull rules for landlords in energy improvement program.
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