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2024 | Book

Legal barriers to the energy modernisation of dwellings occupied by low-income tenants and opportunities to overcome these barriers

Case study of Germany

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About this book

This book explores the legal barriers to energy modernisation in Germany's residential building sector, especially when low-income tenants are involved. It also examines potential solutions to the landlord-tenant dilemma and how they may be applied within the German legal framework. The book conducts an in-depth examination of the regulations, economic factors, and social dynamics that impede progress in energy efficiency improvements. Drawing upon extensive research, comparative case studies, and insights from the Swedish experiences, this book provides a comprehensive analysis of the challenges and opportunities surrounding the decarbonization of dwellings occupied by low-income tenants in Germany. The book explores the concept of energy poverty in Germany and Sweden, and how these countries address it (or don't) within their legal frameworks. It delves the reader into the complexities of German and Swedish legal systems and how they impact the ability to address energy efficiency in low-income housing. The reader can explore the landlord-tenant dilemma and the hurdles faced when trying to invest in energy modernization, with a special focus on low-income tenants. This book takes an in-depth look at the legal landscape, exploring both EU policies and national regulations. Sweden's experience, especially its use of municipal green bonds to finance energy transition projects, offers a valuable lesson for Germany. Drawing on comparative insights from Sweden, which has made strides in addressing similar issues, the book aims to identify transferable legal strategies to facilitate energy transition in the rental housing market. By dissecting the intricacies of regulations and legal frameworks, this book offers innovative solutions that can bridge the gap between climate goals and the realities faced by low-income tenants. This book is intended for a diverse audience, including policymakers, legal professionals, researchers, academics, environmentalists, housing authorities, and advocates for social and climate justice. It serves as an essential resource for those seeking a deeper understanding of the legal complexities surrounding energy modernization in low-income tenant-occupied dwellings and the pathways to surmount these barriers. It serves as a comprehensive resource for those dedicated to dismantling legal barriers to energy efficiency and advancing social and environmental equity.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter
Chapter 1. Introduction
Abstract
For Germany, decarbonising the residential building sector and improving its energy efficiency is not just crucial, considering the aforementioned challenges; it is also a significant hurdle due to the country’s high rate of rented dwellings, which stood at roughly 49% in 2019, one of the highest rates in Europe. This situation highlights the divergence of interests between landlords and tenants in the context of decarbonisation. The findings of this thesis significantly contribute to the academic discourse on energy poverty in Germany. It sheds light on an existing problem that the German government has yet to address. Furthermore, it conducts an analysis of the current state of the landlord-tenant dilemma, with a particular focus on vulnerable households. Given the trajectory of increasing energy prices, the proportion of this social group facing challenges may also rise. Additionally, this thesis proposes an innovative solution within the German legal framework for the landlord-tenant dilemma. At its core, the proposed solution does not involve redistributing the modernisation costs within the landlord-tenant relationship but rather advocates for financing energy modernisation through external sources beyond this contractual relationship.
Jana Karras
Chapter 2. Research Methodology
Abstract
This chapter describes the multi-methodological approach used to address the complex issue of legal barriers in the decarbonisation of dwellings occupied by low-income households. It emphasises the need for diverse methodologies due to the complexity of the subject, involving comparative law, legal interpretation, and economic analysis. The study focuses on the European legal framework, particularly in Germany and Sweden, examining how it impacts legal systems and the landlord-tenant dilemma in energy efficiency. Legal interpretation in the German context plays a crucial role, employing methods like grammatical, historical, systematic, and teleological analysis to understand the nuances of laws related to rental housing. Comparative law analysis is central, comparing German and Swedish legal frameworks and their approaches to climate financing and the landlord-tenant relationship. The research follows established classifications in comparative law, applying functionality principles to highlight similarities across different legal systems. Economic analysis is integrated to evaluate decisions in energy efficiency improvements, using the homo oeconomicus model and considering market dynamics and information imbalances. The study aims to identify legal barriers and suggest amendments for energy transition in housing, with implications beyond the two countries studied. The thesis acknowledges limitations in evaluation, linguistic challenges, and the dynamic nature of the topic, aiming to propose viable solutions for energy-efficient housing in low-income sectors within the legal framework of the European Union.
Jana Karras
Chapter 3. Current State of Research in Defined Area from Energy Efficiency Point of View
Abstract
This chapter examines the dynamics of energy poverty and efficiency in low-income households, particularly in the contexts of Germany and Sweden. It explores the intricacies of the landlord-tenant dilemma and the impact of energy efficiency modernisation on vulnerable social groups. The research addresses the absence of a uniform legal definition of low-income households in Germany, emphasizing the socio-cultural subsistence level and the relativity of poverty. The study highlights the critical role of energy efficiency in reducing energy poverty and contributing to CO2 reduction and climate change policies. The complex phenomenon of energy poverty is examined through various lenses, including the socio-economic, legal, and housing market perspectives. Significantly, the study provides insights into the energy poverty situation in Germany and Sweden. It reviews the performance of these countries in population-based and expenditure-based indicators of energy poverty, comparing them with the EU average. The research underscores the need for effective policies to address the challenges of energy poverty, particularly in rented housing, to achieve climate goals and EU obligations.
Jana Karras
Chapter 4. EU Regulative Framework
Abstract
The European Union’s regulative framework for energy efficiency and decarbonization, particularly in the context of dwellings occupied by low-income households, presents a complex interplay of climate law, energy law, social law, and rental law.
The chapter examines key policies and legislative measures, such as the European Green Deal, the Renovation Wave, and various directives and regulations, highlighting their relevance to the decarbonization of the residential sector. It also discusses the landlord-tenant dilemma in the context of energy efficiency, exploring the balance between EU directives and the autonomy of member states in implementing solutions.
Jana Karras
Chapter 5. Country Reports and their Comparative Analysis
Abstract
This chapter focuses on country reports and their comparative analysis, particularly between Germany and Sweden. It examines the non-legal and legal frameworks in Germany and Sweden, critically evaluates them, and compares the similarities and differences between the two countries. A significant portion is dedicated to assessing the German legal framework regarding energy modernisation in rented dwellings and identifying legal barriers. The chapter also delves into the Swedish context, exploring both the non-legal context and the legal framework, and presents a comparative research of the two countries. The chapter concludes with a critical evaluation of the replicability of the warm rent model in Germany.
Jana Karras
Chapter 6. Possible Solutions
Abstract
The chapter presents a detailed analysis of alternative methods and policy instruments for the energy modernisation of dwellings occupied by low-income tenants. It first examines the German scenario, detailing the KfW programs, public law levies, CO2 pricing, and the potential of building renovation tax and energy tax reform as tools for encouraging energy-efficient renovations. The focus then shifts to Sweden, with an in-depth look at the use of Green Bonds for funding sustainable projects. Additionally, the chapter explores the feasibility of partial warm rent as a novel approach to heating cost allocation in rental agreements. This chapter aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the potential solutions and their implications in the context of energy modernisation for low-income tenants.
Jana Karras
Chapter 7. Description of Results
Abstract
This chapter offers a critical assessment of the partial warm rent model and public law levies. It delves into the instruments for mobilising private investment, particularly focusing on municipal green bonds in Germany. This chapter examines the current status quo, legal barriers at different levels (European, federal, and Länder), and potential solutions within the existing legal framework. It summarises the findings from both German and Swedish perspectives, emphasising the replicability and practicality of various solutions in the context of energy modernisation for low-income tenants. The chapter also provides two possibilities to issue green bonds for financing of rented housing occupied by low-income households within the existing German legal order.
Jana Karras
Chapter 8. Conclusion
Abstract
Energy transition affects almost every sector of the economy, with the residential building sector being a significant contributor to overall CO2 emissions. Therefore, decarbonising this sector is imperative. Concurrently, it is vital to ensure that the energy transition does not disproportionately burden low-income households, thereby advocating for a just transition. Low-income tenants, often a more vulnerable social group, typically reside in energy-inefficient housing due to affordability constraints, which precludes them from accessing better living standards.
Jana Karras
Metadata
Title
Legal barriers to the energy modernisation of dwellings occupied by low-income tenants and opportunities to overcome these barriers
Author
Jana Karras
Copyright Year
2024
Electronic ISBN
978-3-658-44193-7
Print ISBN
978-3-658-44192-0
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-658-44193-7