Media Releases | 3rd Jun, 2024

Affordable, comfortable and safe: New rental standards to bring renters in from the cold

Environment Victoria today welcomed the Victorian government’s proposal for new rental efficiency standards which will ensure comfortable and healthy homes for the 30% of Victorians who rent.

In an era of high living costs, these reforms will give renters more power to get their bills under control – particularly gas bills, which went up by $500 on average last year alone.
Until now, renters have had no choice – they have been stuck either paying to run expensive gas appliances or going cold.

Importantly, the new standards include a good level of ceiling insulation, which is the single biggest improvement that can be made to homes in Victoria. While this is very welcome, the standards don’t require under-insulated homes to be improved – this is a gap which will keep some people living in uncomfortably cold or hot homes.

Dr Kat Lucas-Healey, Environment Victoria’s Senior Climate & Energy Advisor said:

“Gas is one of the biggest expenses faced by Victorian renters, but going electric can save 75% off winter heating bills. Renters urgently need to be able to access efficient electric options.”

“For too long, renters in Victoria have had to contend with unsafe and uncomfortable housing that is cold in winter, hot in summer and serviced by expensive, polluting and poorly performing appliances.”

“As well as reducing bills, electrification will eliminate health risks that gas appliances expose renters to, including the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from poorly maintained appliances.
“We support the Victorian government’s Gas Substitution Roadmap, and want to ensure that renters aren’t stuck choosing between soaring gas bills or going cold.”

“Ceiling insulation is the bare minimum needed to keep homes from being dangerously hot in summer and cold in winter. This new standard is long overdue and will benefit residents from the first day insulation is installed.”
“The government needs to make sure these new standards are strongly and proactively enforced. It’s simply not fair to put that responsibility onto renters.”


Environment Victoria has recently written to the Victorian Minister for Climate Action, Energy and Resources, Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio, with the following list of recommendations for how to best protect renters in Victoria while advancing the shift away from polluting methane gas.

  1. All rental homes in Victoria have sufficient ceiling insulation – this is a number one priority. An R5 minimum standard, or top-up to R5 if a home has <R2. Where top-up insulation cannot be installed, heating and cooling services must be of higher efficiency.
  2. All rental homes in Victoria can be cooled affordably and healthily. If homes have R5 ceiling insulation, ceiling fans are okay for cooling. Otherwise, efficient air conditioning. All homes need screen doors and flyscreens on windows.
  3. All rental homes in Victoria can be heated affordably and healthily with electricity. If homes have R5 ceiling insulation, the existing heating standards are okay. Otherwise, higher efficiency heating. Gas heaters should not be allowed, nor should wood-fired heaters in metropolitan areas.
  4. All rental houses and townhouses in Victoria have affordable electric hot water. If homes have solar PV, resistance electric is okay. Otherwise, heat pump or solar thermal – no gas.
  5. Rental standards in Victoria are proactively enforced. The status quo is not fair because it puts the onus on renters.


Alex Merory, Campaigns Director

Ph: 0420 793 120