Renter organisation Better Renting has welcomed the new ACT Climate Change Strategy 2019-25, released today, which includes a commitment to minimum energy performance requirements for rental properties.
According to the strategy, the government will introduce legislation by 2021 to come into force in 2022-23. The legislation will mean that landlords of inefficient properties are required to improve their properties before they can be rented out.
Joel Dignam, Executive Director of Better Renting, said it was a significant development.
"Minimum requirements for rental properties are an essential policy tool for a climate strategy. By reducing pollution, improving the comfort of homes, and lowering energy consumption, they assist with climate mitigation, and adaptation, and enabling a fair transition to a zero-carbon future."
"From our research and engagement with people who rent in the ACT, we know this policy can transform the lives of tens of thousands of people in Canberra. Better rental homes will mean that people don’t have to suffer through winter or swelter through summer. Especially with climate change increasing the risks from extreme heat, this policy will help renters to adapt through better quality housing."
Bella, 22, who rents in Downer, said the policy could help her housemates and her to endure the heat in summer.
"It was boiling in our rental home last summer, the house was like a hotbox. We would do everything we could to try to get cool, from cold washers to even putting our bedsheets in the freezer."
"This change would make a big difference for us and other people on low-incomes. With the weather getting more extreme, it’s great to see this initiative to protect the most vulnerable people in our community."
While Mr. Dignam was positive about the commitment, he said that it represented "the next step, but not the final step" towards resolving the issue.
"While this is a strong performance from the government, the show’s not over until the fat lady sings. We will keep working with renters and the ACT community to ensure the timely implementation of ambitious standards. We won’t rest until people who aren’t lucky enough to own property can still be confident of a home that is healthy and safe in summer and winter."