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Greens push for better standards in rental properties

By johnboy 6 April 2011 23

Greens Energy Spokesperson Shane Rattenbury has announced that he’s tabling an exposure draft of a Bill he plans to introduce to force landlords to offer better minimum standards of security, energy, and water efficiency:

“Canberra rents are very high, due to high demand, but some people don’t get what they pay for, and are stung with huge energy bills after winter because their house is so poorly insulated,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“Most landlords do the right thing, but some rental properties are substandard in terms of energy or water efficiency, or basic security, and tenants are often the ones left to foot the bill.“Landlords will be able to take advantage of government programs to assist with the cost of increasing the energy efficiency of their properties.

“The three key standards addressed by the bill are:

— Energy efficiency – EER 2 by January 2013, and EER 3 by January 2015. These are not high EERs, but changing a house from and EER of 0 to 3 can halve your electricity bill
— Water efficiency – can be met by fitting low flow shower heads and taps, and installing a dual flush toilet
— Security – the provision of deadlocks on external doors as well as locks on other external openings

If this gets up we can be certain sure this is going to see rents shooting up, and leases terminated to allow for higher rents to be imposed.

Is that short term pain worth the long term gain?

UPDATE: The exposure draft is now available online.

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23 Responses to
Greens push for better standards in rental properties
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tidalik 1:28 pm 07 Apr 11

Pandy said :

I hope this is stamped on.

I have a house that has R4s in the roof space, R1.5s in the walls, low flush toilets, 3A showers, double glazing on many windows, eGlass on others, roller shutters. And yet it only achieves 1.5 energy stars. This is a house in a poorer neighbourhood but because of the standard of finish, against the advice from the property manager I stuck to my guns and got a higher than norm rent for the area.

Although I posted in the other thread that I supported this legislation, I am concerned about how well the energy rating system actually reflects energy costs in the ACT, and Pandy’s example reflects this well. The house I am in (which I own), had a rating of 0 when we moved in last November. Yet I am sitting in the living room with sun streaming in and warming everything up, and at this rate I doubt we’ll need to turn on the heaters for a few months yet. The house is North-facing yet this fact actually LOST it points in the energy rating assessment.

I still think regulation is the way to go. So maybe the solution might be to introduce legislation that specifies actual improvements e.g. all rental properties should have >R4-rated ceiling insulation etc, blinds or shutters on all West windows etc. Landlords would just have to produce evidence they’d done this instead of needing to pay for a new energy assessment.

Sideshowmatt123 1:25 pm 07 Apr 11

Notice the headline on p.1 of today’s Canberra Times ‘exclusive’:

‘Greens plan to slug landlords’.

This appears blatantly biased, and I suppose more landlords than tennants buy the local rag. No doubt the sub-editor would claim that this headline could be read (by ignoring the incorrect punctuation):

‘[The] Greens’ plan [is likely] to slug landlords’.

Cheap and shoddy.

Slumlord 8:05 am 07 Apr 11

They’re not painting it for me! They’re painting it for themselves! What do I care what their house is worth? The point is a slap of paint is dead easy, but having to strip it back because it’s now peeling is a much bigger, more expensive job. Similarly, a new wee stretch of gutter is pretty cheap, but replacing all the lining on the eave, and repairing water damage to the wall is quite costly. And you’ve still got to replace that guttering. Another landlord ignored rising damp and had to replace a bearer, as well as repairing the leaking shower that caused it. If they’d fixed it when we told them about it, it would have been a simple shower repair: a few hundred bucks instead of a few thousand. Another one had leaking laserlight over the outside deck, which could have been a fairly easy fix, until they left it for ages and it started rotting the deck. Are you seeing the pattern yet? I could keep this up for hours. In each case, if they’d listened to their tenants, they could have saved themselves big money. Spending a hundreds of thousands on a house only to watch it fall apart is sheer stupidity, I reckon.

Thanks for your congrats. We’ve had a fab time attaching things to walls! 😀

I see the pattern fix minor problem before it becomes bigger – it was the paint example i didn’t get. While not wanting to flog a dead horse you can’t paint over paint that is/will fall off, so there’s no point doing it until you’re selling to realise the gain. As with home owners, sometimes landlords just cant afford to rectify maintenance issues until they’ve saved the $. Others arent interested in maintenance because they have intentions of knocking the house down and developing. And yes sometimes landlords have the $ and are just stupid.

In my experience tenants assume all property investors are rich, when the reality is often rents dont go close to covering costs in the hope of future capital gain. Over my years of observation tenants rarely look after a house, particularly gardens, and pay rent if/when they feel like despite the landlord having to meet mortgage payments whether rent is or isnt received. On the other hand tenants expect minor issues to be attended to immidiately because they’re ‘entitled’ to it.

I personally think this proposal is very ordinary and costs will be passed on to those who can least afford it, the tenants, as I’ll be forced to do. Enough from me though I cant continue to type it’s freezing here my own house’s EER is <2.0!

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