It’s Official: Aussie Rentals Get Too Cold & Mouldy In Winter For Safe Human Living

australian homes too cold to live in rentals cold weather winter

Well shiver me timbers (literally), turns out most of our rental homes in Australia are too darn cold for safe living. My teeth are chattering, my bones feel like tiny toothpicks submerged in Arctic water and my feet haven’t had circulation since the summer of 1997 — the bad news is I’m not the only one apparently.

If any of those icy descriptions of my current state apply to you as well, I’m sorry to say but you’ve got a home that’s too cold for living.

Better Renting has released their report aptly titled “Cold and Costly“. No, it isn’t a research paper into the cost of ice creams in Bondi, but a serious look at how cold Aussie homes get in winter.

More than 70 homes were investigated across every state and territory and the main finding was that Aussie rentals turn into iceboxes too quickly.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO? Yes, WHO) “18°C has been proposed as a safe and well-balanced indoor temperature to protect the health of general populations during cold seasons.”

Unfortunately for us, most homes in Australia dipped below the recommended temp of 18°C for around 18 hours a day. Too many 18’s for my liking. It’s not giving angel numbers at all.

Mould and dampness were found to be major issues in said homes as they became horrifically humid. You should see how damp my inner west Sydney rental gets. When I’m thirsty I just lick the walls.

“Everyone in Australia should have a home that is warm and dry in winter, that keeps them and their family safe,” said Better Renting’s Executive Director Joel Dignam in a press release.

“But renters are missing out. Draughty, uninsulated rental homes force temperatures down and power bills up.

“Renters told us about getting sick more often, about a constant state of worry over energy costs, and an unending battle against mould and damp.”

Sounds like my home, to be honest. Everyone is always sick, the dehumidifier is constantly on and my energy bill is enjoying BDSM torture with my bank account, ball gag and all.

“The good news is we can do better.”

Thank God, Joel. Give us the good news!

“Governments are currently working on a framework for minimum rental requirements, and this could be a pivotal first step in helping to make these rental homes fit to live in during winter.

“When we analysed some efficient owner-occupier homes in Sydney, we found that they had higher average temperatures and lower humidity, making them much better to live in.”

I’m interested to see what happens once the government finds out that half of our rental homes aren’t fit to live in given their temperatures and humidity. I guess I’ll just sleep outside? It’s probably just as cold out there.

The “Cold and Costly” report also found a few interesting details about each state and territory.

According to Better Renting’s study, NSW had the highest average humidity, which would come as no surprise to anyone in a mould-ridden NSW rental at the moment.

ACT on the other hand was found to have the lowest average minimum temperature while Tasmania spent the longest amount of time in cold temperatures. Makes sense for both given the fact that there are around nine people who live in either place. Not enough bodies to warm up an ice cube!

Victoria was found to have rentals that flit between 13-18°C which means that the state never actually goes above the recommended minimum. Not good at all.

The average Victorian was estimated to fork out $6-10 on energy every single day.

“As the impacts of climate change become more severe, exposure to uncomfortable or extreme temperatures at home is increasing risks to people’s health and mental health,” said Secretary of the Climate Justice Union Luke Skinner in a press release.

“Preparing for the impacts of climate change means making sure our homes are safe and comfortable to live in.

“Every person deserves a safe and comfortable home, let’s make sure they have one.”

Well, I’m to go harden my nipples (not by choice) in my house that gives The Penguin’s Iceberg Lounge a run for its money. If anyone has a spare heater or two, hit me up!