Victorian renters are joining the call from a leading environmental group for a compulsory level of energy efficiency standards, including insulation, in homes available for lease.
More than 15,000 Victorians have signed Environment Victoria’s petition calling for minimum standards for the health, safety and efficiency of all rental homes, ahead of the November state election.
“Requiring rental homes to have basic measures like insulation is the single most effective action government could take to cut renters’ cost of living, create thousands of good, local jobs, and cut climate pollution,” Environment Victoria efficiency campaigner Anne Martinelli said in a statement.
“It is not unreasonable to expect property investors to run their business in a way that avoids endangering other people’s safety and well-being.”
Renters could save up to $850 in power bills each year if the reforms were legislated, she said.
The existing laws only require Victoria’s 550,000 rental homes to meet building standards.
Liz, a mother in Melbourne’s north, said her rental home was almost a century old, wasn’t insulated and her bills tripled every winter.
From making lined curtains, sealing off parts of the house, covering windows that had been without glass when she moved in, Liz said she’s done all she can to reduce costs “but it’s just not enough”.
Ms Martinelli said Victoria was “getting left behind on this issue” after a standard lapsed in the 1990s while Queensland and New Zealand had legislated rental efficiency standards in the past two years.
A review of the Victorian Residential Tenancies Act was completed in October.
Reforms, including allowing tenant-led modifications to reduce energy and water usage costs, are expected to go before parliament this year.
“We know how important energy efficiency is for comfort and for reducing bills and we’re examining a range of options to improve the standard of homes for renters,” Consumer Minister Marlene Kairouz said on Monday.