Don't let Victorian renters freeze this winter

Jack and his housemates have just endured a sweltering summer in this West Footscray rental house. They're already dreading winter. There's no insulation or window shading. The roof leaks. And hundreds of thousands of Victorians, like Jack, are in the same boat. It's tough when the property you rent hasn't had an upgrade in 50 years.

Send your message to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews for minimum standards on rental properties now.

Victorian rental properties just weren't built to withstand the freezing cold, nor the stifling heat of a 45 degree day. Most don't even have basic measures like insulation because there is no law in Victoria saying they have to. This also means that many renters have their hands tied when it comes to reducing their carbon footprint, their impact on the environment and their power bills.

It's just not fair.

The Premier needs to hear loud and clear that poor quality rental housing is having a major impact on the lives of thousands of Victorian tenants.

Dear Premier Daniel Andrews,

Hundreds of thousands of Victorian renters live in inefficient homes which are freezing cold in winter and dangerously hot in summer, or cost a fortune to keep comfortable. Many renters also face other problems – from a lack of security, to persistent mould or broken windows – and often struggle to get even basic repairs done.

The current situation is unfair.

Your government has recognised the need for change by announcing the first round of reforms from the Residential Tenancies Act review.

But there's still a big gap – there's nothing in the announcement about minimum standards for health, safety and energy efficiency.

We know from experience that most landlords don't take advantage of voluntary efficiency programs even when they're free. For many landlords, investing in improvements like insulation or draught-sealing is just not a priority while it's the tenants who benefit from lower bills and better living conditions.

The only way to make sure all rental homes are liveable homes is to require rental properties to meet minimum standards before they can be leased.

Initially setting standards at a low and achievable level would ensure the worst-performing properties were brought up to scratch.  Responsible landlords who already recognise the benefits of keeping their properties in good condition should easily meet basic standards.

This reform is achievable and affordable, and will deliver significant social and economic benefits – for renters, for Victoria's carbon emissions, and for government health and welfare budgets.

I urge you to deliver for Victorian renters and fix this problem which has been sidelined for too long.

[Your comment here]

Yours sincerely,

[Your name]

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