Reports

Here you can find the many reports that Better Renting has released over time.

Cruel Summers: Renter Researchers Summer 2024

From December 2023 through February 2024, Better Renting worked with over 100 renters across Australia to track temperature and humidity in their rental homes. We also learnt about the experiences of these renters through surveys and interviews. 

These experiences are documented in our report Cruel Summers, available for download here.


Hot Summer Nights - Queensland Summer 2024

This report, Hot Summer Nights, examines the experiences of Renter Researchers in Queensland from December 2023 to January 2024. Drawing on quantitative and qualitative data from 19 research participants in Queensland, we find: 

  • All rental homes were above 25°C degrees for 86% of the study period.
  • Renters’ homes were above 30°C degrees over five hours a day.
  • The average indoor temperature was 27.6°C.

Renters described how inadequate housing, which lacked features like ceiling insulation, fly screens, or fans, would regularly be hotter than the outdoors. This led to damaging effects on sleep, with concurrent harms to physical and mental health. Queensland's rental laws, which are weaker than those in other states, made it very difficult for renters to advocate for decent conditions in their own homes.

You can view and download the report below here.


No reprieve: Notes on Perth’s November Heatwave

In November 2023, Perth sweltered through an unprecedented heatwave. We obtained quantitative data from six renters who are participating in our Summer Renter Researchers project and integrated this with qualitative data from a heatwave survey of Renter Researchers. We found:

  • All rental homes were above 25°C degrees for 98% of the heatwave.
  • Renters’ homes were above 30°C degrees 37% of the time.
  • The average indoor temperature was 29°C

Renters also described how the heat made normal life impossible, harming sleep, social connection, and physical and mental health. You can view and download the report below.

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Solar Flair: Renters' views on rooftop solar

A new survey of renters by tenant advocacy organisation Better Renting finds that renters are keen to share in the benefits of rooftop solar, although worries about rent increases are a sticking point. 

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Power Struggles: Winter Renter Researchers 2023

Through the winter of 2023, Better Renting worked with 59 renters to track temperatures in their homes and what it meant for them. We found unhealthy low temperatures in a large number of homes in the sample. Renters' experiences were characterised by a sense of powerlessness, forcing them to put up with substandard homes and negligent landlords, due to a fear of eviction, a rent increase, and potential homelessness. 

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SA snapshot for Winter Renter Researchers 2023

What are renters in South Australia experiencing this winter?

This winter we are working with around 60 renters across Australia to track winter temperatures in their homes and understand their experiences of winter cold. This includes 11 particiants in South Australia. 

We will publish the full findings from this citizen science study in September. In the meanwhile, this is an interim snapshot focusing on experiences document so far in SA.

You can download the brief report here, or read it below.

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Better Renting Impact Report 2021-2022

In 2023 we celebrate five years since Better Renting started. As part of this, we're proud to share an Impact Report on 2021-2022, covering the last two years of operation. Through this time we've seen continued progress on rental reform and a national conversation around housing growing in ambition and urgency. 

You can download a PDF copy of the report here. Our 2018-2020 report is available here.


What does the data tell us about landlord wealth?

The latest ATO taxation statistics for 2020-21 provide an objective view on the position of those taxpayers with an interest in a rental property, with data going back to 1999-2000. We analysed the data to better understand the position of landlords and how this has changed over time. A brief paper on our findings is available here.

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The cost of inefficient rental housing in South Australia

This week Better Renting is presenting at the Essential Services conference being put on by SACOSS. We will be speaking about who pays the cost of inefficient housing. As part of this, we have updated our Cost of Complacency analysis. This report looked at the cost of inefficient rental housing in New South Wales; we have updated it to look at the South Australian context using up-to-date figures.

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Renter Researchers Report Summer 22-23

Through the summer of 22/23, Better Renting observed renters' experiences of heat in their homes. We recruited eighty ‘Renter Researchers’ from across Australia to install temperature tracking devices in their bedrooms. Unlike a mere thermometer, these devices record temperature at intervals, creating a detailed record of the temperature changes and patterns observed in rental homes. In addition, we obtained qualitative data from Researchers, through surveys and interviews, helping us to understand observed temperature patterns and gain an insight into the human impact of high indoor temperatures.

You can download the report here in PDF format and here in DOCX format.

You can find our work from summer 21/22 here.

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The Cost of Complacency

When a home is more energy-efficient, the occupants benefit from free energy: instead of occupants having to pay to heat their home, the structure of the dwelling itself provides greater thermal comfort. Conversely, people in inefficient homes are being denied this benefit. In this paper we attempt to quantify the dollar value of this benefit to highlight what renters in inefficient homes in NSW are missing out on. We estimate that NSW has over 700,000 rental homes with poor energy efficiency, and that improving the efficiency of these properties would achieve benefits worth $1.199 billion, or $1683 per affected household. As energy prices continue to rise, the value of this benefit becomes greater. This represents a huge untapped opportunity to address cost of living impacts on vulnerable households.


You can download the report here in pdf format.


Cold and costly: Renter Researchers' experiences of Winter 22

From June 13 to July 31 2022, Better Renting tracked temperature and humidity in 70+ rental homes around Australia. Our findings are summarised in our report Cold and costly: Renter Researchers' experiences of Winter 22.

You can download the report in pdf or docx format. The PDF is also embedded below.

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Hot homes: Renter Researchers' experiences of summer 21-22

Through the summer of 21/22, Better Renting observed renters' experiences of heat in their homes. We recruited fifty ‘Renter Researchers’ from across Australia to install temperature tracking devices in their bedrooms. Unlike a mere thermometer, these devices record temperature at intervals, creating a detailed record of the temperature changes and patterns observed in rental homes. In addition, we obtained qualitative data from Researchers, through surveys and interviews, helping us to understand observed temperature patterns and gain an insight into the human impact of high indoor temperatures.

You can download the report here in PDF format and here in DOCX format.


The sick season: cold weather and mortality in South Australia

Does South Australia have a pattern of increased monthly mortality during colder weather? We analysed monthly death statistics and average monthly temperature data and observed that the months July to October show an above average number of monthly deaths. This pattern is typical of countries with low-quality housing stock that offers inadequate protection during cooler months. Improving household energy efficiency would likely reduce excess winter deaths.

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The Path of Lease Resistance

The ACT is the only jurisdiction in Australia that allows landlords to contract out of their legal obligations, according to a new report out today from tenant advocacy group Better Renting.

The report, The Path of Lease Resistance, highlights that ACT law allows landlords to add terms to a lease even if the terms are inconsistent with the standard terms of a tenancy. It finds that this mechanism is poorly understood and often abused, which means that some renters miss out on legal protections. In one example in the report, an additional term might specify that a tenant is responsible for replacing broken glass, even where this would otherwise be the lessor’s responsibility.

You can download the report here in pdf format.

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'Til debt do us part: a fair solution to prevent Covid evictions

As eviction moratoriums are lifted across Australia, hundreds of thousands of renters could lose their homes in a wave of ‘Covid evictions’.

Covid-19 caused a very uneven recession. Low-income households and people in insecure work faced worse impacts than others. In addition, they had less financial resilience to begin with. Many of these people rent their homes.

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Report: "Pet peeves: how landlords are denying renters the benefits of pets"

As the numbers of renters in Australia has grown, so too has the push for changes to rental laws, including around pets. This report considers the current situation for renters in Australia, reviewing data on the situation facing renters with or without pets, and the possible implications for renters and lessors. We find that 44% of renter households have pets but only 8% of SA rental properties explicitly welcome pets. In addition, we identify significant variation across different agencies, suggesting that landlord preferences are not a determining factor.

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Out of the woods? How the QLD Government failed renters during Covid-19

The Queensland (QLD) Government recently decided to end protections that it had provided to renters for Covid-19. This is a bold move considering that the pandemic and its fallout are far from over. As the threat of Covid-19 emerged, community organisations from across Australia called for urgent action from Australian governments to protect renters, proposing five measures for state and territory governments to implement. This report evaluates the QLD Government’s pandemic response against those measures, and it considers what the future holds for Queensland renters.

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