Greens push for ACT renters to be told if homes are ‘freezing in winter or boiling in summer’

Glynis Quinlan 8 April 2019 11

The ACT Greens are pushing for the enforcement of energy efficiency ratings in ACT rental advertisements so renters don’t sign up to properties they discover leave them freezing in winter.

The ACT Greens are calling on the Government to enforce legislation requiring rental property advertisements to list Energy Efficiency Ratings (EERs) – saying renters need this information before they sign onto a lease and “discover that the property is freezing in winter or boiling in summer”.

Research undertaken by the Greens has shown that the majority of online advertisements for rental properties do not list the EER even though this has been the law for 20 years.

Greens planning and housing spokesperson Caroline Le Couteur has called on the Government to ensure that more compliance checks get underway to ensure all properties listed for rent include EERs, where one exists.

“Renters should have all the relevant information to hand before they sign up to a lease. This includes how energy efficient, or inefficient, a property is,” Ms Le Couteur said.

“Energy efficient homes are far more comfortable to live in and cost-effective while helping to curb damaging greenhouse gas emissions.”

The EER scheme provides a simple score to summarise the energy efficiency of a home, similar to the star ratings on appliances like washing machines.

Ms Le Couteur said a recent random sample of 40 online rental advertisements in Canberra, conducted by the ACT Greens, found that:

  • around 45 per cent of ads listed no information regarding the property’s EER
  • around 35 per cent of ads were listed as ‘EER Unknown’, ‘EER N/A’, ‘There is no EER’, ‘EER 0’ or variations
  • only 20 per cent of ads listed EERs.

Ms Le Couteur said that even though the majority of these properties did not list the EER in rental advertisements, the Greens understand that the majority would have undertaken EER ratings— and believe these ratings should be clearly listed.

Ms Le Couteur said the move to publish EER ratings in property advertisements 20 years ago was the result of Greens efforts in the Assembly to curb greenhouse gas emissions and ensure Canberra’s housing stock is equipped for the climate.

In December 1997, Greens MLA Kerrie Tucker brought forward a Bill that “require(d) any advertising material to contain a statement of the current energy efficiency rating of those premises… making the market operate more effectively by providing consumers with information about the energy efficiency of a house”. The first advertisements of this kind ran on 31 March 1999.

“Twenty years on, the EER scheme is still helping Canberrans choose a better home to buy or rent. However, the scheme needs to be well-enforced if Canberrans are to fully benefit,” Ms Le Couteur said.

A review of the EER scheme is currently underway as part of the Labor-Greens Parliamentary Agreement. The ACT Greens have stated that they would like to see EERs required for all rental properties.

What's Your Opinion?

Please login to post your comments, or connect with
11 Responses to Greens push for ACT renters to be told if homes are ‘freezing in winter or boiling in summer’
Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 12:49 pm 11 Apr 19

Many owners in their own houses are also boiling and freezing, if their house was built before energy ratings came into force. It has nothing to do with this being a rental property; but the era of the house. Most of these houses are in the inner areas of Canberra and that's where most people who rent want to live. If renters want better insulated houses move to outer suburbs and newer housing, or move into a new apartment. I have been both renter and home owner and I have been cold in winter and hot in summer, regardless of whether I was renting the house, or owned the house I was living in. Why? Because I always preferred to live in inner suburbs and these older houses are often badly insulated. Home owners are living with cold/hot houses too, if they chose to buy older inner city unrenovated houses. Not all home owners can afford to improve the insulation on their house either; instead they put on extra jumpers, woolly hats and use a blanket when sitting. Just as past generations have always done. Don't think I don't believe in energy efficient houses. I do and the reason I continued to live in (almost) uninsulated houses (even when I owned it) was that I was saving to have a properly designed house built, so I didn't want to 'waste' money on my badly insulated house. In those houses, my power bills were not high by Canberra standards, as I only heated one room to about 15C to keep bills down. The heater was turned off when I went to bed. After many years I was finally able to build a house that need no air-conditioning (not that I have ever had it) and almost no heating in winter, because the house is comfortable. If someone rents an old, unrenovated Canberra house, no energy rating is needed. Common sense tells you, it's going to be cold in winter and hot in summer. Although a double brick house will likely be okay in summer because of the mass.

Maelinar Maelinar 11:11 am 11 Apr 19

Its simples, since its mandatory fine the publications for not publishing the EER value, default value is 0.

You would see an instant change in the quality of the adverts literally overnight as the publications pass on their fines to consumers.

Robyne Mitchell Robyne Mitchell 8:26 am 11 Apr 19

I don't know why people do not do as we did as it is not rocket science. Hubby crawled under house and stapled pink/green insulation bats to underside of floor. We got rockwool (?) insulation piped down in the walls (house was built before insulation), the only great expense. Then he put in sliding perspex windows on the inside of existing windows, so now we effectively have double glazing, warm and quiet and not so expensive.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 12:52 pm 11 Apr 19

    This is especially important if people rip up the carpet and polish the floor boards, making the house colder, by loosing the insulation of carpet and underlay. Polished floor boards are a very, very bad idea in Canberra's climate, unless it is well insulated under the floor.

George Quarmby George Quarmby 10:55 pm 09 Apr 19

Like the majority of nanny state laws they are not policed. Why bother

Marty Barnier Marty Barnier 1:37 pm 09 Apr 19


Lauryn Roberts Lauryn Roberts 10:31 am 09 Apr 19

Or if the garage floods out.... lol they don’t have to live there so it’s not their stuff . 😕

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 2:08 pm 11 Apr 19

    Is this garage in a hollow? Every garage I have known flood has been. That's sort of expected. Unless a pipe bursts somewhere. I take it you have home and contents insurance which covers flood (& have read the insurance policy to check what kind of flood).

Tina Kerstens Tina Kerstens 10:14 am 09 Apr 19

Thea lucky us - we’re boiling AND freezing 🙄

    Amanda Elizabeth Lyons Amanda Elizabeth Lyons 8:40 pm 10 Apr 19

    Tina Kerstens sane. Though this year we’ve boarded up all the windows with two layers of corflute. I guess we look like a meth lab from the outside but hopefully no $1800 gas bill this year.....

    Amanda Elizabeth Lyons Amanda Elizabeth Lyons 6:44 am 11 Apr 19

    Tina Kerstens sane. Though this year we’ve boarded up all the windows with two layers of corflute. I guess we look like a meth lab from the outside but hopefully no $1800 gas bill this year.....

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Region Group Pty Ltd

Search across the site