Advertisement

‘Cruel’: One issue hurting renters

Rental Market
A new report claims rentals were ‘barely habitable’ over the summer. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Luis Ascui

A scathing new report into the rental market has found tenants sweltered through peak temperatures of more than 30C for hours a day, leaving homes “barely habitable”.

The report by tenant advocacy group Better Renting tracked the temperature and humidity in 109 rental homes over the summer, including in NSW and Queensland.

Dubbed “Cruel Summer”, the report found the average median indoor temperature exceeded 25C.

Worse still, researchers found temperatures peaked at more than 30C for two hours a day, with indoor temperatures exceeding those outdoors almost half the time in NSW.

RENTALS MELBOURNE
A new report claims rentals were ‘barely habitable’ over the summer. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Andrew Henshaw

Better Renting deputy director Bernie Barrett said the report, which was published on Tuesday, pointed to the need for action to lift the standard of rental homes.

“Everyone needs a healthy home. Governments should require landlords to make changes so that rental homes are fit and healthy to live in,” she said.

“Simple changes like ceiling insulation, fly screens or cooling appliances can help reduce the danger from extreme indoor heat.

“But we also see this common fear of retaliation, which is no surprise: in many jurisdictions, a renter can be kicked out without the landlord needing to provide justification.”

Better Renting Deputy Director Bernie Barrett. Picture: Supplied
Better Renting deputy director Bernie Barrett said rental homes should be fit and healthy to live in. Picture: Supplied

Ms Barrett said only the ACT and Victoria had minimum rental standards related to energy performance, with Victoria planning to expand existing standards this year.

ACT renter Jessica Buckland was one renter who took part in the project. She said her home was poorly built and she avoided using the airconditioning due to costs.

“The house is unbearable without AC or fans in the peak of summer; it will be hotter inside than out,” she said.

“I often push my comfort a lot further when I’m home alone than I would if my son was home.

“I don’t think twice about turning the AC on when he’s home, but I’ll go without when it’s just me. I’m nervous about the power bill.”

RENTALS MELBOURNE
The median household temperature among Australian rentals exceeded 25C. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Andrew Henshaw

NSW renters were some of the worst affected according to the report, with tenants reporting temperatures exceeding 25C for more than 12 hours a day on average.

Living in the hottest state in the report, Queenslanders reported temperatures above 28C about 50 per cent of the time, with indoor temperatures regularly about 4C hotter.

Western Australia was also hit hard, with homes sitting above 25C for 16 hours of a day, while South Australia recorded the single highest maximum temperature of 45.3C.

The Northern Territory, Victoria, Tasmania, and the ACT all reported relatively mild summers and accordingly homes cracked 25C for only for a few hours of the day.