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Report reveals unbearable summer temperatures in Australian rental homes


A new report from tenant advocacy organisation Better Renting has found that renters across Australia endured median indoor temperatures of 25°C this summer, with homes in Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory experiencing even higher temperatures.

The ‘Cruel Summers’ report, based on data collected by 109 renters as part of Better Renting’s ‘Renter Researchers’ citizen-science project, revealed that rental homes were hotter than the outdoors over one third of the time in NSW, the NT, Queensland and WA.

In NSW, for example, when it was hotter outdoors 42.5% of the time, it would average 25.4°C outdoors but 28.4°C indoors.

The report argues that while many renters struggled with the heat, access to better quality housing or lower cost-of-living pressure could contribute to more bearable conditions.

However, for renters in poor-quality homes and under financial pressures, the heat could be life-threatening, with one Renter Researcher requiring ambulance attendance during the study period.

Jessica Buckland, who rents in the ACT with her four-year-old son, said her home was unbearable without air conditioning or fans in the peak of summer, but she was nervous about the power bill.

“The house has a poor build quality and no external shading. Our bedrooms are west facing so they are brutal in summer,” Buckland said.


Better Renting project officer Sabrina Clarke said the challenges renters faced reflected both substandard homes and a tight rental market.

“What we heard from renters is that people know their homes are too hot, and they don’t have the power to fix it themselves,” Clarke said.

Better Renting Deputy Director Bernie Barrett said the report pointed to the need for action to lift the standard of rental homes, with governments requiring landlords to make changes so that rental homes are fit and healthy to live in through summer.

Currently, only the ACT and Victoria have minimum rental standards related to energy performance, with Victoria planning to expand existing standards this year to cover ceiling insulation and cooling appliances.

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