We’ve spoken to hundreds of Victorian renters across the state who are sick of living in dangerously hot homes.
We all know that inadequate insulation, windows, blinds or cooling means that homes are baking on hot days. Hot overnight temperatures mean sleepless nights that put stress on our bodies and on our mental health. We shouldn’t be worried about our safety in our own homes.
But there’s a clear solution. We need to update the Victorian rental rules to say that all homes should be safe on hot days.
“It feels hopeless asking for insulation because the owners haven’t spent any money on the house to make it liveable. Landlords don’t think about what it would be like to live in an uninsulated house with a tin roof with no air con that gets hit with hot afternoon sun. I don’t think they could live through a summer in this place.”Cara
High temperatures have a big impact on our physical and mental health. Renters are more likely to live in homes with no insulation or air con. Even in cases where renters do have air-con, financial worries often stop them from using it. As our summer temperatures rise and heat records are smashed, renters are at a higher risk of heat-related disease like dehydration, heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
“I feel powerless as a renter to ask for better living conditions, because I can’t afford another rent increase. Regardless, I think it is unacceptable for landlords to be selling accommodation in houses that are unsuitable for living 3 months of the year.”Lexi
Unfortunately, some landlords and property managers are unwilling to ensure that properties are safe for renters during extreme heat because there are no rules say they have to. Of the renters we surveyed who had requested improvements to keep their home cool, only 15% said their requests were successful.
“Landlords should be legally obligated to implement cooling features in older houses. I’ve literally had heatstroke, and I’ve sat outside at 10 at night because even at 40° outside it was cooler than inside.”Jacq
When the temperature rises, renters are being forced out of their homes to find refuge from the heat at friends’ homes, shopping centres and libraries. Even if you’re not a renter, we know you’ll understand how important it is for us all to feel safe at home.
Here’s the plan:
Firstly, we need to build a network of renters and other supporters who want to make sure all our homes are safe in rising temperatures.
We’ve launched the petition below calling on the Victorian government to update the minimum standards for rental properties to include cooling and heatwave safety. Sign here. We’re also working with other organisations like RAHU who are doing great work to build a powerful union and support renters.
Secondly, we need to work together to build a strong campaign.
In March 2023 you can Join us for a campaign strategy meeting for a campaign strategy meeting and start mapping out our campaign to win. Next summer is going to be a hot one, so we need to get the ball rolling now.
When: March 14, 7:30-8:30pm
Where: Online on zoom.
Together, we can ensure that all renters have a safe, healthy, cool home.