Renter Researchers is a citizen-science and advocacy project that Bettter Renting has run every Summer and Winter since the Summer of 2022. Renters apply from across Australia to take part; we then send them devices to track temperature and humidity in their homes and induct them into a community of other renters also taking part in the project. We gather qualitative data from participants through surveys and interviews and combine this with the quantitative tracker data to create a powerful portrayal of the harrowing experiences that renters are enduring in their homes. We also provide training and support for participants so they can advocate for themselves, including through media engagement and reaching out to their local representatives. This project is part of Healthy Homes for Renters and aims to help secure government commitments to minimum energy efficiency standards for rentals.
Over four iterations so far the project has:
- Involved 203 Renter Researchers contributing data and experiences;
- Generated over 130 media stories;
- Had 37 different Researchers share their stories through the media; &
- Provided media training and advocacy training for participants.
Through this we've seen many Researchers go on to reach out to and meet with their state MPs, with many other supporters being inspired by the research to contact their own representatives. Participants also tell us that it's been immensely rewarding to be part of the project, and that they appreciate the sense of community and resilience on offer.
Below we share some feedback from participants and some highlights of what the project has achieved so far.
"It made me so much more passionate and engaged and driven to use my skills, knowledge and learnings from the project to make a change. To pressure MPs and to use my voice. This project has been so great - not just for the reports and media generated from the project, but the skills and connections that participants build throughout the project." (Summer 2023)
"Renter Researchers is such a supportive team dedicated to making our voices heard to improve the lives of all renters. I really appreciate all the time they took to create a community where we could share our struggles and tips openly, as well as provide media training." (Summer 2022)
"This was a fantastic project, being able to track my heat was really illuminating and the best thing was the little community formed on the Whatsapp group. It really felt like we had some kind of solidarity with other renters rather than 'going it alone'." (Summer 2022)
"I feel that Better Renting has helped build a community of renters, and really contributed to the interest and momentum around improving rental housing standards, in just 1 year." (Winter 2022)
"I am really glad to be a part of it, it gives me more hope about improving health and housing for renters. I already use the reports when I self advocate as a renter and carer in Brisbane." (Winter 2022)
"I felt supported by hearing other peoples stories and knowing others were struggling too often it’s so isolating to live in poverty and in a house that negatively affects your health. The group had people in similar situations to me and it was the first time I felt like I wasn’t the only one." (Winter 2022)