Hot Homes – Renter Researchers’ experience of summer 21-22

The national Better Renting campaign has launched its very excellent Hot Homes: Renter Researchers’ experiences of summer 21-22 report.

The full report is here.

50 renters across Australia – including two staff at Shelter WA – contributed to this report by allowing temperature trackers into their bedrooms since November 21.

The results are compelling – the report found:

  • Rental homes routinely exceed safe temperature limits, with indoor temperatures above 30°C for about an hour a day on average.
  • Night-time temperatures were hot enough to impair sleep almost 50 per cent of the time.
  • New builds don’t protect renters from high temperatures
  • Renters’ experience of heat is entangled with experiences of renting more broadly. The ability to keep a home healthy in summer is affected by landlord-tenant power dynamics and affordability challenges.
  • COVID-19 was a unique challenge through the summer of 21/22, with working from home or self-isolation more difficult in hot homes.

One of the most important findings was how hot it is in rental homes overnight when people are trying to sleep:

In WA, 21 per cent of the time between 9:00pm to 6:00am was above 30 degrees and another 59 per cent of the time was between 25-30 degrees. In other words, 80 per cent of the time our homes are too hot.

During one of the Perth heatwaves two participants’ recorded overnight temperatures between 33-36 degrees.

These findings support a recommendations to

  • Establish minimum energy efficiency standards for rental properties,
  • Improve energy efficiency standards for new buildings,
  • Improve the design of our cities, and
  • Reduce climate emissions to mitigate climate impacts.

Adopting minimum standards is one of the ‘tenancy ten’ goals for the residential tenancies act reform, and this report highlights how vital these reforms are.

You can see the posts Better Renting has made today on social media (Facebook, Twitter) and find out more about the national campaign here: