Image: The Property Tribune; Henry Thai.
  • Energy inefficient homes mean people lose over $1000 in bills each
  • This adds up to $1.2 billion across NSW alone
  • More energy efficient rentals are being called for

A new report by Better Renting has found that New South Wales renters are being stung with massive energy bills.

The problem was clear: inefficient homes. Renters are haemorrhaging over a thousand dollars each trying to heat and cool their homes.

Energy bills rise and cost of living sting

The general rise in cost of living expenses means millions of Australians will be having a leaner Christmas this year, with rising energy bills also to make their mark.

Having an inefficient home adds to the pain, Better Renting’s Cost of Complacency report found that the least efficient homes saw renters forking out $2,717 on heating and cooling a home, while more efficient homes were more than $1,000 better off, spending a paltry $1,683.

The report ran the figures for an estimated 712,000 inefficient properties in NSW, totalling a whopping $1.2 billion in losses for renters.

Setting the standard for energy efficiency

With cost of living pressures sharply on the rise, politicians should be looking to energy efficiency standards for rentals, said Better Renting Executive Director Joel Dignam.

“Every year, inefficient rental homes mean that renters are missing out on about $1.2 billion in benefits. If these people were owners, government would be on this in a flash. But because they are renters, this issue is being ignored.”

“People are paying more on rent and more on energy. What our analysis shows is that there is a free lunch here: bringing up substandard rental properties will help renters with heating and cooling, with benefits worth thousands of dollars per household.”

“In Victoria and the ACT governments have committed to measures to lift up the energy performance of substandard rental properties. If you want to do something about the cost of living, this is an obvious place to start.”

Rental energy costs heat up as efficiency improvements prove challenging

One of the problems for renters includes the restrictions on making improvements in efficiency. It is a well-known fact that renters cannot easily make modifications to their rentals, if at all. This means where a renter could have added energy-saving features or systems, the rules make quite the mountain out of the energy molehill.

With long-term renting also now more commonplace in Australia, the report noted that now, more than ever, energy efficiency in rentals should be a key priority.

Better Renting provided the anecdote of Sasha, who rents in Inner West Sydney and said that if her property was more efficient, it would reduce her energy costs and medical expenses.

“My home is in an old complex, and there isn’t much in terms of insulation or modern appliances. We installed our own thermal curtains, but there’s only so much you can do as a renter.”

“I live with a chronic health condition where my body can’t regulate temperature that well. If my home was more efficient, not only would I be saving on heating, I’d also be spending less on medication and treatment. As it is, every quarter I get worried thinking about how to dig up money to pay for my energy bill.”

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