Efficiency

Rental standards

Most rental properties are pretty inefficient, which means renters are missing out on the benefits of lower bills and healthier living conditions. That’s unfair – and it’s adding to climate pollution. The solution is minimum standards for rental houses.

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Renters left out in the cold

The energy efficiency of Victorian houses is bad enough, but rental properties are even worse.

Hundreds of thousands of Victorians are living in rental homes which are dangerously hot in summer and freezing in winter, or waste too much energy to keep at a healthy temperature.

With home ownership increasingly out of reach for Victorians, more and more people are renting. The appalling state of our rental properties has become a mainstream issue the government can’t ignore.

Rental homes make up around a quarter of our housing. If they are missing out on efficiency upgrades, then Victoria is missing out on a big opportunity to cut climate pollution.

Read more in our report: ‘Bringing rental homes up to scratch’

Ask your local MP to take action

 

 

 

 

Why we need minimum standards

Right now, the only standard Victorian rental homes need to meet is to have a smoke alarm. That’s it. There doesn’t need to be a heater, the windows don’t need to open, and you can forget about insulation or draught-sealing.

At Environment Victoria, we think renters deserve better. At the very least, a rental home should be a liveable home.

While many landlords do the right thing by their tenants in terms of repairs and maintenance, it’s also true that most landlords don’t take advantage of voluntary efficiency programs even when they are free. There’s not much incentive for landlords to invest in relatively invisible measures like insulation or draught-sealing while it’s the tenants who reap the benefits of lower bills and better living conditions.

The only way to fix this problem is to set minimum standards for efficiency, health and security that all rental properties need to meet before they can be leased.

 

 

 

 

 

Renters in their own words

Working with other community organisations in the One Million Homes Alliance, we’ve compiled a database of renters and responsible landlords who want to tell their story to the media. Here are just a few.

On hot days we often hang survival blankets and shade-cloth over the windows to stop the heat. It means living in the dark, but it’s better than cooking in a glasshouse.


Arnold

BRUNSWICK WEST

Our house is so poorly insulated that it’s basically uninhabitable in hot weather. We’ve had to buy a portable cooler which helps a bit, but costs a lot to run. I’m on a disability pension, so we’re having to dip into my super to pay bills.


Duncan

BOX HILL SOUTH

It’s really frustrating to be surrounded by so many simple things that wouldn’t actually cost much to fix, but have such a big impact on our quality of life. It’s not much to ask that landlords spend a bit of money here and there just to keep things liveable.


Jack

WEST FOOTSCRAY

It is cold and draughty in winter…and the roof has leaked for 15 years. I live with a bucket permanently in the doorway of the kitchen.


Jeanette

MOOROOLBARK

Our house gets to 35 degrees inside in summer and as low as 10 degrees in winter. I’m worried about climate change, so I don’t want to run the heater all day if I know all that energy is just blowing straight through the roof.


Margaret

BALWYN

As a landlord, keeping your house up to a good standard means that you get respect from the renter. Everyone should be entitled to a minimum standard in their home, even if you do not own it.


Martin

YARRAVILLE

Read more rental stories

A once-in-a-decade opportunity

Right now the Victorian government is reviewing the legislation covering the rental sector.  We’re working with our One Million Homes Alliance partners to make sure minimum standards are included and to fix this problem which has been in the ‘too hard’ basket for too long.

Minimum standards are not much to ask. Responsible landlords who already recognise the benefits of keeping their properties in good condition would easily meet basic standards. The rest would have plenty of notice to get their properties up to scratch. And they’d be prevented from passing on unreasonable costs through rent increases. Find out more in our blog post ‘8 myths and facts about efficiency standards for rental homes’.

8 myths and facts about efficiency standards for rental homes

A small but loud group of vested interests are opposed to minimum standards for rental properties. They’re counting on renters and responsible landlords remaining silent.

But there are more than 500,000 households that rent in Victoria. With a powerful and united voice, renters and responsible landlords can seize this once-in-a-decade opportunity to win better quality housing, starting with minimum standards.

The government released an Options Paper in January, and it does canvas introducing standards for ‘health, safety and amenity’. So now we just need to keep up the pressure to ensure efficiency is included as well. Read our submission to the Options Paper here, or our short briefing paper.

Download the briefing paper (PDF)

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