Minimum standards needed for rental properties for energy efficiency and thermal tolerance

August 9, 2017 at 4:56 pm 1 comment

Energy efficiency and thermal tolerance of rental accommodation in Victoria is an important issue that needs to be addressed at state government level.

Far too many rental homes in Victoria, and particularly Moreland, aren’t up to scratch. Tenants are paying for it in outrageous heating and cooling bills and unhealthy living conditions. It’s unfair, even dangerous to those vulnerable including elderly tenants and those with medical or psychiatric conditions. And all that wasted energy is just adding to Victoria’s climate pollution.

Rental homes should be liveable homes. Environment Victoria have a petition to tell your State MP we need minimum standards for health, safety and efficiency for rental properties before they can be leased. This is particularly important for ensuring adequate thermal tolerance with air-conditioning in rental properties.

It’s now crunch time in this campaign.

Consumer Affairs Victoria has completed the consultation phase of its review of Victoria’s rental laws and is now making recommendations to government. We need to make sure the government hears the voice of renters and progressive landlords.

Environment Victoria and the One Million Homes Alliance are partnering with the Tenants Union of Victoria’s Make Renting Fair campaign to build a strong and loud movement in support of this vital reform.

The petition page is a form letter, but do modify it to include your own circumstances regarding renting, energy efficiency and thermal comfort.

This is my letter below to Frank Maguire (Broadmeadows). Jane Garrett (Brunswick) and Lizzie Blandthorn (Pascoe Vale) are the other two MPs representing Moreland. Feel free to include information below to modify your own emails.

Better Energy Efficiency for Moreland

On another note, Climate Action Moreland wants to see greater attention given to energy efficiency in Moreland’s Zero Carbon Evolution plan. Energy efficiency improvements are difficult to measure accurately across the community. We are meeting with Moreland Energy Foundation (MEFL) in a workshop, probably in September, with input from energy efficiency experts. The midway review of the ZCE plan (June 2017 Council agenda) found that energy efficiency improvements in Moreland were on target. If you have some ideas, get in touch with us.

Time to Support minimum standards for rental properties for energy efficiency and thermal tolerance

Dear Frank Maguire MP,
CC: Jenny Mikakos and Nazih Elasmar (Upper House MLCs)

Please acknowledge receipt of this communication and later forward a response to it with what action the Andrews government is taking.

I live in your electorate and want to raise an important issue. Although I own my own home (with a mortgage), I know many other people, including friends and my stepson, who are forced to rent. Rental houses are more than an investment – they are home to 1.2 million Victorians who now rent through their work, family and retirement years.

Too many Victorians renters live in homes that are unsafe, inefficient, and fail in providing adequate thermal tolerance during extreme heat events This exposes them to health and safety risks, huge power bills and extremes of hot and cold weather.

In addition, many rental houses and apartments fail in providing adequate thermal tolerance for extreme heatwaves that are becoming more common with climate change, exacerbated by the urban heat island effect (UHIE). Most of Moreland is particularly bad in terms of the urban heat island effect. This is not fair.

Moreland UHI Thermal imaging 14 January 2014 10am

The way to fix this is for you and your government to:

* introduction of minimum standards for health, safety and energy efficiency.

* Strengthen building and planning requirements to ensure all homes provide adequate protection from UHIE without reliance on air-conditioning.

* Provide flexible funding options for social housing providers to deliver retrofits.

* Explore enhancing the medical health concession to other vulnerable persons.

* Undertake detailed thermal image mapping of urban areas (all Melbourne and regional cities) to identify UHIE hotspots.

Your government has already recognised the need for change by undertaking the Fairer Safer Housing review of the Residential Tenancies Act. Now is your chance to make a real improvement in the lives of renters.

The only way to make sure all rental homes are liveable homes is to require rental properties to meet minimum standards before they can be leased.

Minimum standards for health, safety and efficiency are not much to ask, and can easily be introduced in a way that doesn’t impact on rents or housing supply.

This is achievable and affordable, and will deliver significant social and economic benefits – for renters, for Victoria’s carbon emissions, and for government health and welfare budgets.

This legislation is being developed right now. I urge you to speak to your colleagues, protect Victoria’s 1.2 million renters and ensure this outcome is a fair one.

Strengthening building requirements and planning guidelines is essential for ensuring thermal comfort in new housing stock. Flexible funding for building retrofits for landlords and tennants should be closely looked at to ensure rental housing can be upgraded to the necessary standards of thermal comfort. This is of particular importance for any social housing.

Regular Mapping of UHIE hotspots for Melbourne should not be left to haphazard action by municipal councils, but should be undertaken and funded at the state level for use by all state and municipal planning authorities in climate adaptation programs. The UHIE mapping results should be made public for full transparency.

Yours sincerely,
John Englart
Fawkner, Victoria, 3060, Australia
Climate Action Moreland

Entry filed under: Energy efficiency, Politician education, Victorian Government. Tags: , , , .

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