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Advice on tenants rights

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#1 dopeydoo

Posted 15 May 2020 - 03:21 PM

We have been renting our house for a number of years now and are due to sign a new lease. We are happy to stay here but have let the property manager know (a number of times over the years) that the house is extremely hot in a heat wave. We have very big west-facing windows and in the summer the afternoon sun makes it unbearably hot. There is a small cooling unit that is no match for the afternoon sun. I am genuinely concerned about the health risk this carries, it is easily over 30 degrees inside on hot days with the cooler on.

We have asked that the owner install awnings or shade cloths on our west-facing windows but this has been refused.

Where would you go to get advice on this? We are in Victoria.

#2 Murderino

Posted 15 May 2020 - 04:21 PM

You probably can’t make them do it but I’d call the Tenants Union of Victoria for advice.

My sister’s friend rented a place in Albert Park with no cooling upstairs. They’d sleep downstairs for summer because it was an oven. Being Albert Park they paid thousands per month in rent. They asked for cooling to be put in a few times and it was refused.

I think two years in they gave notice and told the property manager they were leaving because they couldn’t use the upstairs for three months per year. The landlord put cooling in that month and they stayed.

#3 Tinkle Splashes

Posted 15 May 2020 - 04:25 PM

You can’t make them so this.

#4 Dianalynch

Posted 15 May 2020 - 04:35 PM

You can’t make them, you could either install some shade cloth yourself, or at the moment it’s a tenant’s market, so you might want to request a rental decrease to be more in line with market values (help you pay for the shade cloth) or give notice and move to a place that suits your needs better.

Prices have really dropped, depending on where you live, so a move could end up paying for itself if you take advantage of the current offers of free rent for a week or two / cheaper rent.

#5 tothebeach

Posted 15 May 2020 - 04:49 PM

To be fair, most houses get hot in a heat wave.  

As others have said, either leverage the falling rental market to ask for a reduction or the work to be done.  

Or if you want to stay regardless, get some curtains from spotlight or put up bubble wrap on the windows to help to insulate them.

#6 BornToLove

Posted 15 May 2020 - 04:57 PM

We have walked after we asked a pervious landlord refused to install aircon.

We did notice that about a year after we moved out, an aircon unit had been installed. 🙄 We aren’t 100% sure, but wouldn’t be surprised if the next tenants were more successful with their request for air con

#7 seayork2002

Posted 15 May 2020 - 05:01 PM

You may be allowed to ask for permission to install them your self at your cost and remove when you move

I doubt you can make them do it and I am not sure what these health grounds could be as houses get hot it is normal

#8 born.a.girl

Posted 15 May 2020 - 05:04 PM

I can imagine what's it's like. We made changes to the west of our house with acres of more glass, and an unfortunate accident happening to the woman who was making the internal blinds (which eventually got put up) and bushfires meaning the company making the external ones were held up. Plus the vine hadn't grown over the pergola.

It was putrid and we had the tiny, old one bedroom size air on on, every second day.

Roll on several years and all of the shading does make a staggering difference.

Is it a newish house?  Is it likely to add value for them with the external blinds?  They do make a big difference, although they also make the house dark on a hot day.

That said, I'm not sure I'd worry too much about the health risks, melbourne's heatwaves were notorious long before recent times, and poorly orientated and insulated places were a nightmare to live in before anyone had aircon.

If they won't come to the party, some shadecloth from Bunnings, with some hooks to attach it externally on those days will make a huge difference.

We also pinned sheets up over the glass on the over 40 degree days which helped a bit to stop the heat from the glass penetrating the room.

#9 PrincessPeach

Posted 15 May 2020 - 05:17 PM

I'd be asking for internal blinds to be installed.

I'm Qld & it's amazing the temperature difference inside if you can tilt the venetians to stop the sun but let the breeze flow.

#10 got my tinsel on

Posted 15 May 2020 - 06:04 PM

We have a 3.6 metre window (south facing) but in Summer, the afternoon sun absolutely blasts in and is unbearable (often around 40+ degrees here in Summer.

Block out curtains have made a huge difference to making the house more comfortable and the air-con far less power hungry.

We just bought cheapy blockout curtains on sale (about $20 each drop).  How well they work has been a real eye opener for us.

#11 lozoodle

Posted 15 May 2020 - 06:29 PM

You can't make them do this nope. Maybe you could ask about installing some block out blinds on the inside that you will remove when you go? Or some of that adhesive window tint stuff that's meant to help? And just agree to make good after your tenancy ends?

#12 Ivy Ivy

Posted 15 May 2020 - 07:28 PM

My understanding is, how the place is when you move in, is how it has to be maintained.
So if for example there is an aircon when you move in, and later it breaks, that has to be fixed/replaced, the place cannot change to be without an aircon (unless tenant agreed).
If there is no aircon, or no blinds or whatever, when you move in, that's the standard the owner needs to keep to.  They can add extra if they want, but they are under no obligation to.

It's common in real estate agencies for them to field calls during summer, from people saying their rental is really hot, and asking for aircon to be installed.  The real estate agents usually explain it's not going to happen.

#13 Serapod

Posted 15 May 2020 - 07:41 PM

We use gro blinds that suction onto the windows in our unaircon rental. And we have our own portable airconditioner.

#14 lozoodle

Posted 15 May 2020 - 07:42 PM

Following up from my previous comment - it doesn't hurt to ask again of course as they might be open to it. But its an improvement to the property which may also coincide with a rent hike.

#15 Ozquoll

Posted 15 May 2020 - 07:57 PM

I had the same problem in one rental - it was on the second storey and had an entire eaveless wall facing to the west 🥵. Unfortunately, thick blockout curtains didn't really solve the issue, as the heat radiated from the sun-warmed bricks of the wall all night, making sleeping nearly impossible in hot weather.

I agree with others though, you can't compel them to do anything about the hot Western side of the house. How about (as others have said) asking if you can install blinds/awning/shade cloth at your expense? Or upgrading the air-con unit?

Or tell them that you will regretfully have to move out if nothing is done about the heat situation...but be prepared to.follow through if they call your bluff!

#16 Quick hedgehog

Posted 15 May 2020 - 09:54 PM


Edited by Quick hedgehog, 15 May 2020 - 10:00 PM.

#17 lozoodle

Posted 15 May 2020 - 10:03 PM

It actually couldn't hurt to ask again, who knows in these circumstances. I'd probably be more willing to do some improvements for a tenant who is happy to stay right now, because who knows how easily it would be to get a new Tenant given the amount of job losses now!

#18 ~Jolly_F~

Posted 15 May 2020 - 10:33 PM

Give it a go and ask - the worst that can say is no or maybe they will come back with an alternative.

If they don’t you can then look into other options, such as block out curtains, a temporary awning, foil ;)

#19 Lime-Polka-Dot

Posted 15 May 2020 - 10:35 PM

I've put the foil type windscreen shades on the bedroom windows of my last two houses and it's made a tremendous amount of difference. My big bedroom windows currently get the the full afternoon sun. I bought 3 of the truck windscreen sized shades to cover the window. I can't stress enough the difference it makes.

Edited by Lime-Polka-Dot, 15 May 2020 - 10:37 PM.

#20 BECZ

Posted 16 May 2020 - 11:33 AM

Have you asked if you are able to do something at your own expense?
Most landlords will let you add something if its removal is not too damaging or if you agree to leave it there when you leave (so that you don’t leave damage).
That’s the usual way I fixed issues when I was renting.

Sometimes the landlord will go halves if you agree to leave them when you leave.  We did this with new blinds and as students at the time, we were happy to go with a cheap option as was the landlord.

#21 molinero

Posted 16 May 2020 - 12:36 PM

Could you grow some heat loving plants in pots outside the windows? Something like frangipani in a large pot will give you shade during summer but heat during winter, as it's deciduous, and will do ok with the hot westerly sun.

#22 gracie1978

Posted 16 May 2020 - 12:59 PM

Are you prepared to move?
Such a great time to find a new rental.

If you're prepared to leave, might be a good idea to give the landlord a heads up that you'll be giving notice due to the heat issues.

#23 bondgal

Posted 17 May 2020 - 08:16 AM

Hi OP, could you organise quotes for a couple of awning and blind options and send these with a request to be reconsidered? I know that shouldn’t be up to you, but it might help. Also are you certain the Real Estate Agent is passing on your request to the LL? As others have pointed out, now is a great time to ask again.

#24 MsLaurie

Posted 17 May 2020 - 08:20 AM

Presumably after several years you’re on a month-to-month lease?
Would they (& you) be prepared to have the awnings etc installed in exchange for you signing a new one or two year lease? Give them some certainty that their investment in the modifications will be justified.

#25 ~Jolly_F~

Posted 17 May 2020 - 10:27 AM

View PostMsLaurie, on 17 May 2020 - 08:20 AM, said:

Presumably after several years you’re on a month-to-month lease?
Would they (& you) be prepared to have the awnings etc installed in exchange for you signing a new one or two year lease? Give them some certainty that their investment in the modifications will be justified.

What? Why would she be on a month to month lease?

I have lived in some rentals for several years and never been on a month to month lease.

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