With winter well and truly upon us, we are all experiencing the big chill effect. None more so than the millions of renters across the country living in properties that are not energy efficient.

Winter is the time for hibernation, lots of Netflix, home cooking and being rugged up with those we care about. Unfortunately for renters in some properties, winter can mean being overly exposed to the seasonal elements even at home. Victoria’s half a million rental homes are only required to comply with whatever building standards were in place when those dwellings were constructed. That deprives many renters of basic (and essential) efficiency measures like insulation, which in turn leads to higher energy bills as tenants crank up the heat to combat the cold. 

According to Tenants Victoria, “The introduction of minimum standards will ensure that all households that are renting at least have a dwelling that is of a current reasonable standard.”

The Victorian Government has recently rolled out a new program called the Scorecard, in which renters and owners alike can have their homes assessed for energy efficiency (and identify how tenants can reduce energy use) by an independent accredited assessor. 

Energy efficient properties make sense from a landlord’s perspective also. Fewer maintenance requests and complaints, better energy ratings for homes and most importantly happier occupants (and fewer vacancy periods) are a win-win for both parties. Landlords may also be eligible for a rebate if they are required to replace an appliance in their rental properties. Items that may be covered include showerheads, toilets, hot water systems and fridges.

With renting becoming a necessity for a growing percentage of the population here are some budget conscious tips to help stay warm this winter:

  • Better sealings – door snakes can be significant blockers of draughts and help keep properties warm, especially in older homes
  • Curtains – another cost-effective installation, good quality curtains can prevent heat escaping from the living room and bedroom(s)
  • Rugs – covering exposed wooden floorboards and tiled floors can act as insulation
  • Energy efficient appliances – swapping halogen bulbs for more efficient LED lights and choosing whitegoods with good energy ratings can help reduce energy usage and save money.
Find out more about energy efficiency in our Energy Explained section.