Renew welcomes Victorian proposal for stronger rental standards

Renew today welcomes the Victorian Government’s proposal to lift energy efficiency standards for rented homes. 

Under the exposure draft of new minimum standards, from October 2025 Victorian renters signing a new lease will have the right to a home with insulation and draught proofing. Homes will require energy efficient heating and cooling, with new appliances to be electric. Broken hot water systems will need to be replaced with efficient electric heat pump or solar water heaters. 

“For a home to be comfortable and safe, the first important step is to insulate the ceiling and close up any excessive gaps that might let hot air out in winter, pushing up energy bills,” said Helen Oakey, Renew CEO. 

“As such, it’s a welcome move to see R5 ceiling insulation and draught sealing as new basic requirements, as both are very cost-effective measures for more energy efficient homes.” 

“Many landlords do the right thing by their tenants and ensure the homes they rent out are healthy and energy efficient. But without clear protections under the law, too many renters are left paying high energy bills, freezing in winter and uncomfortably hot in summer.” 

Weatherproofing homes and shifting to efficient, electric appliances saves money. Research from Renew and Environment Victoria found that insulation and efficient reverse cycle air conditioners can cut the cost of heating for renters in a Victorian winter by over 75%. 

“We all know how precarious and expensive it is becoming to rent. Renters are being left with less choice in the rental market yet renting for longer, so it’s encouraging that the Victorian government is taking steps to cut bills and keep rental homes healthy,” said Ms Oakey. 

“We particularly welcome that the proposals require the installation of efficient electric heating appliances, at a time when the Government has flagged that the future direction for energy is away from gas. The Government should consider extending this to replacement cooking appliances, which would enable more rentals to come off the gas network completely. Renters must not be left paying the costs of a declining gas network. 

“A rental home is firstly a home, not a property or an investment – and that means it must be comfortable and safe to live in. It would be unfair for renters to be left behind in the transition to clean, renewable electricity and energy efficient homes,” said Ms Oakey. 

The consultation documents released on 3rd June 2024 proposes changes to minimum standards for rental homes in Victoria following a phase-in period to 2025. The changes include: 

  • Requiring a fixed electric heater and air conditioner in a home’s main living area. 
  • When hot water systems need replacing, the new hot water systems must be electric heat pump or solar. 
  • Homes without insulation must have insulation installed at an R5 standard. 
  • Unreasonable gaps and draughts must be sealed.