8 April 2019

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

| Glynis Quinlan
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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.

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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.

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