A new study from Better Renting found that the higher costs of living are forcing renters to live in homes with unhealthy temperatures.

According to the Sweaty and Stressed report that covered the summer season from December to February, temperatures were above safe levels 45% of the time, with three states, New South Wales, Queensland, and Tasmania, recording maximum indoor temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius.

Overall, indoor temperatures exceeded 25 degrees Celsius more than 10 hours a day and exceeded 30 degrees Celsius for just over an hour a day.


Median Temperature (°C)

Highest Temperature Recorded (°C)

New South Wales



Western Australia



Australian Capital Territory



Northern Territory






South Australia









Better Renting executive director Joel Dignam said many renters were reluctant to use cooling appliances due to high energy costs or were unable to cool their homes despite using fans, air conditioners and other cooling appliances.

“When your rent and your energy costs are going up, one thing people cut back on is cooling, but when you’re in a substandard home, this means suffering in excessive indoor heat,” he said.

“Even in this milder summer, we saw worrying indoor temperatures. As temperatures, energy costs and rents continue to go up, governments need to act to keep renters safe in their homes.”

Cohealth older persons high rise program worker Awhina Kapa said rising heat is a challenge for older renters in public housing.

“Our residents are using local pubs and pokies to get relief from the heat at night — we are seeing these residents struggling to pay for necessities such as toilet paper, bread, and milk due to feeling the pressure to spend money while inside these venues,” she said.

National Shelter CEO Emma Greenhalgh said there is a need to improve the energy efficiency of rental homes.

“The significant increase in rental costs combined with the higher costs of energy and food means that people are making very difficult decisions right now about how to spend their limited incomes,” she said.

“Also, very low vacancy rates give people little choice about the quality of their housing because the focus is on being able to have a roof over their head.”

Ms Greenhalgh said people should not have decide about whether to pay for housing or healthcare or food.

“People should not have to live in unacceptable and unhealthy housing because that is all that is available — it is critical that we see the retrofitting of existing dwellings for the health and wellbeing of tenants,” she said.


Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels.