Buyouts with rentbacks: a policy proposal for managing coastal retreat

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The discussion of adaptation to climate change in coastal areas has focused on short-term risk reduction and climate-proofing, but there is growing recognition that—at some point in the future—relocation to less vulnerable geographical areas will become necessary for large numbers of residents in many coastal communities. Spontaneous relocations that occur after catastrophic events can entail high costs, both for those who resettle elsewhere and for the remaining community. Managed retreat attempts to reduce such costs, thereby facilitating the relocation process. Property buyouts, the most prominently discussed policy tool for managed retreat, present significant challenges in terms of equity, timing, finance, and scale. We discuss innovation in buyout policy that allows residents to remain in their homes as renters after being bought out. We develop the basic structure of such a policy and show the pathways through which it can help to finance buyouts, harmonize public and private decision-making, and manage the timing of community transition. We also recommend funding mechanisms and other details to overcome the substantial barriers to implementation. Although buyouts with rentbacks will require institutional innovation in order to serve as an effective policy framework, the policy has the potential to improve social, economic, and environmental outcomes from the eventual unfortunate but necessary migration away from coastal areas.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Keeler, AG; Mullin, M; McNamara, DE; Smith, MD

Published Date

  • September 1, 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 12 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 646 - 651

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2190-6491

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2190-6483

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s13412-022-00762-0

Citation Source

  • Scopus