Energy efficiency standards for rental homes

young woman in woolen plaid warm up hands over electric heater
Too many renters live in inefficient homes they can't afford to keep at a healthy and liveable temperature

 All homes should be healthy and affordable. But too many renters are living in leaky, uninsulated homes that get too hot in summer, too cold in winter, and cost too much to run. 

Rental homes in Australia are less energy efficient than owner-occupied homes. One study found that because of inefficient appliances and a lack of weatherproofing, renters pay 8% more in energy bills than homeowners in like-for-like homes. Indoor temperature monitoring undertaken by Better Renting showed that renters are enduring heat and cold well beyond minimum World Health Organisation standards for healthy homes. 

The poor energy performance of rental homes is a structural policy feature of Australia’s housing system – and it needs a structural solution. 

If you own your home, investing in better energy efficiency means you will enjoy lower energy bills and better comfort.  

In contrast, renters are dependent on landlords to pay the upfront costs of energy features like insulation or efficient heating and cooling – and while there are some landlords who do the right thing, the data shows that relying on voluntary action from landlords alone is not delivering outcomes for renters. 


Renew is advocating for governments to set minimum energy efficiency standards that must be met by all homes that are rented.  

Renew has been an active voice in the national Healthy Homes for Renters campaign, pushing for national, state and territory action on rental home standards. We advocate for policies to ensure renters also benefit from features like insulation and weather sealing, and that they are included in the energy transition to efficient, all-electric appliances powered by renewables.  

Minimum rental standards are an important tool to improve the energy performance of Australian homes. They would sit best alongside complementary measures like the universal disclosure of home energy ratings when a house is sold or rented, improved energy standards for new homes, ending new gas connections and phasing out gas appliances, and retrofit programs for low-income households. 


The push for healthy rental homes is starting to deliver results. In 2020 Victoria became the first state in Australia to introduce minimum energy efficiency standards in rental regulations, including requiring a fixed heater meeting basic energy standards in all rental homes. The ACT has now become the first jurisdiction to require insulation as a minimum standard.  

We can also look to the success of New Zealand’s Healthy Homes laws, alongside other international examples. 

We have an opportunity to deliver big wins for renters. Victoria has committed to public consultation in 2024 on expanding its rental standards to include insulation, cooling, draught sealing, and efficient hot water. Meanwhile, work has continued on a national framework for rental standards that could drive improvements across the country. 


No home in Australia should be without insulation, basic weatherproofing, and efficient appliances. Renew is using its community roots and technical expertise to be a strong voice for renters – and we will keep working to deliver healthy homes that are warm in winter and cool in summer for all Australians. 

You can support this important work by donating to our campaign.  

Read more about the campaign for rental standards: 

Healthy Homes for Renters is a campaign calling for legally enforceable energy efficiency standards would require property investors to make their rental properties safe. 

The One Million Homes Alliance brings together Victoria’s leading environment, social justice, local government and consumer organisations who share a commitment to a just transition to a sustainable society, where all Victorians enjoy equitable access to efficient, healthy housing and affordable clean energy. 

Read the Community Sector Blueprint: a National Framework for Minimum Energy Efficiency Rental Requirements 

Advocacy: Ensure NSW rental homes are safe and healthy 

Renew calls on Victorian Government to improve Energy Performance Standards for Rental Homes – 2019 submission to the Victorian Government 

Queensland renters deserve healthy homes – 2023 Submission to the Queensland Government 

Australia must achieve zero emissions homes by 2035 – 2024 Submission to the Federal Government