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Energy Performance Certificates and the Capitalization of Utility Costs in Rents: The Potential Role of Asymmetric Information and Uncertainty

This paper is the first to investigate the relationship between the energy efficiency of dwellings, measured by the energy performance certificate (EPC), and utility cost inclusion in rental prices. First, we investigate potential drivers behind the decision to include utility costs in rents. We find that labeled dwellings are more likely to include utility costs and that this likelihood is higher among energy-efficient dwellings than among inefficient dwellings. Next, we surprisingly find that utility costs seem to be under-capitalized in energy-inefficient dwellings. These results are confirmed with the counterfactual decomposition approach. Overall, the findings indicate that the EPC labeling policy may be important for both landlord and tenant decision-making and may enhance market efficiency.

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Keywords: Energy performance certificates, Utility costs, Residential rental market, Asymmetric information, Housing policy

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.45.1.akha

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Published in Volume 45, Number 1 of the bi-monthly journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.


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