Updates

Here you will find a collection of stories from renters, updates and reflections on our work, and media releases.

Unsafe as Houses: Cold-housing deaths in the ACT

This report estimates the annual number of cold-related deaths in the ACT caused by low-quality housing. By comparing temperature data with statistics on monthly deaths for the period 2009-17, we estimate annual cold-related mortality at 140 deaths, based on current population. Conservatively, we attribute 30% of these deaths to cold housing, indicating that 42 cold weather deaths are linked to cold housing in particular. The people most affected are low-income renters aged 65 and above.

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Baby it’s Cold Inside: Energy Efficiency Ratings in the ACT

Rental properties are almost ten times more likely than properties for sale to have the minimum energy efficiency rating, according to a new report from advocacy organisation Better Renting.

The report reviewed over 19,000 real estate advertisements and found that over two in five rental property energy efficiency ratings were 0, compared to less than one in twenty ratings for properties for sale. The report builds upon a similar analysis conducted by Better Renting in April of 2018, which reviewed a smaller number of advertisements.

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Winter Energy Efficiency Guide for Renters

Through Home Truths, Better Renting has released an "Energy Efficiency Guide for Renters" We are launching this guide in draft form, in response to growing demand from a community of renters looking to improve their comfort and warmth at home this winter.

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Tenant Talks Report

Today Better Renting is launching our 'Tenant Talks' report, which uses renters' own words to highlight the challenges facing Canberra renters and the need for further changes to ACT rental laws.

The report is made up of quotes from Canberra renters commenting on the topics of stability, affordability, and liveability. Feedback from renters was recorded from a series of ‘Tenant Talks’ events held last year in renters’ homes, in a model adapted from the Victorian Women’s Trust.

The report includes what renters like about renting, such as “flexibility”, “community”, and “lifestyle”, while also discussing challenges facing renters. In the report, renters describe challenges with insecurity, expensive housing, and low-quality homes “like swiss cheese”, that make them sick in winter.

The report can be downloaded here.

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Introducing: 'Home Truths'

People who rent deserve homes which are comfortable, healthy and affordable.

Everyone should easily be able to heat their homes in winter and cool them in summer. We all deserve a comfortable, safe haven to come home to at the end of the day.

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The Rub on Unfair Evictions

“Unfair evictions” are in the crosshairs all over Australia. The Victorian government has restricted them. NSW Labor has committed to banning them. In SA, ACT, and Queensland, there are moves to end the practice.

With this going on, it’s worth taking the time to understand what “unfair evictions” are and the other ways in which a tenancy can end. Lo and behold, this handy flowchart: your basic guide to how leases end in Australia.

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Response to Mark Parton MLA

Better Renting is a not-for-profit registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. All of our advocacy is done in pursuit of our aims, and we do not support any political party.

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House of 'Lords: Landlords and Tenants in the Legislative Assembly

When politicians make decisions, what experiences do they bring to bear? This report considers the experiences of ACT Members of the Legislative Assembly when it comes to tenure and property investment, contrasting Members with the broader ACT population. It finds that renters are underrepresented and that landlords are over-represented in the Legislative Assembly. This helps us to understand which perspectives are likely influencing decisions in the parliament.

The full report can be downloaded here. Findings are below in table form.

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"I'm OK Right Now": Angela's Story

An illustration of a run-down granny flat being advertised for $280 a week

Story and illustration by Gillian Schwab.

I call Angela at 11am on Tuesday morning. She's sharing a house with a woman and her adult son in Robina, Queensland. The son is in his room, and Angela is outside painting Christmas ornaments for her sister. They have to be exactly the right colour as her sister is very particular about these things, Angela says. She's immediately friendly and very likeable, and right away admits she's made some bad decisions. She says the past few years have been awful.

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Job opportunity: 'Home Truths' Coordinator

Coordinate a community development project, working with people who rent to build a community to enable them to make their homes more comfortable, reduce energy bills, and cut pollution.

Full position description here.

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