As home ownership is increasingly getting out of reach, renting has emerged to become the preferred choice of many people. That might not sound like much of a problem on the surface, but it gets worse as we dive deep into it. The Australian Government has found that the energy consumption in rented homes is significantly higher than in common properties. When they tried to get a deeper look into the issue, they found that these homes were appalling.
Landlords have been renting their ‘less than ideal’ properties that offer a below average quality of life. These houses have little to no insulation and are subjected to extreme weather conditions. They are freezing cold in winter and can virtually ‘bake’ their occupants under a little amount of sun. Therefore, the renters end up spending more amounts of energy to keep their houses at optimum temperatures. This eventually translates to higher consumption which reflects in their overall bills.
This has emerged as a mainstream issue for the Government. Since rental homes make up for a quarter of the total housing, it can make up for a great opportunity to cut climate pollution.
The current predicament
Apparently, the only standard regulation that the landlords need to follow is to install a smoke alarm. That alone makes up for the majority of rules that need to be followed. Currently, they do not need to install heating equipment or ensure the windows function accurately. Moreover, they do not even require having proper insulation in place.
What hinders energy efficiency?
There is no denying the fact that some landlords try to do the right thing in terms of repairs and maintenance. However, the majority of them refuse to have a proactive approach to the efficiency programs.
The primary reason remains to be that there isn’t much incentive for the landlords. The rather ‘invisible’ measures might benefit the quality of living for the tenant, but there is little advantage for the landlord. Additionally, these measures might require them to invest large sums of money which might not reflect in their annual rental incomes.
Another set of compelling reasons that serve as major roadblocks are the existing laws in place. Under the existing standards, the tenants need to ensure that they leave the property in the same condition as they rented it in. This further discourages the tenants to take improvement measures on their own.
Energy efficiency standards are already in place in the United Kingdom
The Government of the United Kingdom has already passed regulations that promise to take on the important issues promptly. The landlord is now responsible for ensuring that the house is fit for purpose and is as environmentally friendly as it can be.
They will now require providing a copy of their EPC to the tenants before renting the home. The tenants can then make well-informed decisions with all the information at their hand. Expect the Australian regulations to follow suit soon.
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