Greens push for more transparency in rental advertising, giving renters more info and choice

 

In marking twenty years since Energy Efficiency Ratings (EERs) were first published in real estate advertisements in the ACT, the ACT Greens have today called on Government to ensure legislation is enforced so that rental properties are listed with EER ratings.

The EER Scheme provides a simple score to summarise the energy efficiency of a home, similar to the star ratings on appliances like washing machines. The publishing of EER ratings in property advertisements was the result of Greens efforts in the Assembly to curb greenhouse gas emissions and ensure our housing stock is equipped for our climate.

In December 1997, Greens MLA Kerrie Tucker brought forward a Bill that “require(d) any advertising material to contain a statement of the current energy efficiency rating of those premises… making the market operate more effectively by providing consumers with information about the energy efficiency of a house.”

The first advertisements of this kind ran on 31 March 1999—twenty years ago last weekend.

This was ground-breaking legislation at the time: but that was last century.

Improvements needed

Twenty years on, the EER Scheme is still helping Canberrans choose a better home to buy or rent. However, the Scheme needs to be well-enforced if Canberrans are to fully benefit.

Greens Planning and Housing spokesperson Caroline Le Couteur today called on the Government to ensure that more compliance checks get underway to ensure all properties listed for rent include EER ratings, where one exists. A recent random sample of 40 online rental ads in Canberra, conducted by the ACT Greens, found that:

  • Around 45% of ads listed no information regarding the property’s EER
  • Around 35% of ads were listed as “EER Unknown”, “EER N/A”, “There is no EER” “EER 0” or variations;
  • Leaving 20% where EERs were listed.

Even though the majority of these properties did not list the EER in rental advertisements, the Greens understand that the majority would have undertaken EER ratings—ratings that we believe should be clearly listed.

"Renters should have all the relevant information to hand before they sign up to a lease. This includes how energy efficient, or inefficient, a property is,” Ms Le Couteur said today. This is why 20 years ago the Greens legislation required all rental advertisers to provide the most current EER rating of their property, where these existed.

The Greens call on the government to enforce the legislation so that more Canberra renters can find out what the energy efficiency rating of a prospective property is—before they sign onto a lease and discover that the property is freezing in winter or boiling in summer.

"Energy efficient homes are far more comfortable to live in and cost-effective while helping to curb damaging greenhouse gas emissions."

A review of the EER Scheme is currently underway as part of the Labor-Greens Parliamentary Agreement. The Greens would like to see EERs required for all rental properties.