An ACT government review into the effectiveness of energy efficiency ratings continues to drag on with no respite for renters kept in the dark about their home's rating.
A review into the effectiveness of the ratings scheme was funded in last year's budget, but the government is still developing a discussion paper for public consultation as the winter chill hits Canberrans, some of whom have no idea how big their energy bill will be at the end of the season.
A government spokeswoman said the review would be "further progressed in 2019", with the government "working to ensure a review of the [energy efficiency ratings] scheme will lead to practical outcomes".
The spokeswoman said the government remained at the forefront of developing energy efficiency ratings for buildings and was committed to improving building quality across the ACT, as demonstrated by Gordon Ramsay's appointment as Minister for Building Quality Improvement. The government gave the same response to questions from the Sunday Canberra Times in April.
Residential properties being sold in the ACT must be assessed for an energy efficiency rating, which takes into account insulation, constructions and building materials. Ratings last for a year and are scaled from one to 10, with seven considered very good.
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If the property is rented out during that year, advertisers must disclose the rating. But outside that 12-month period, the Residential Tenancies Act does not require the rating to be included in advertisements for the property and tenants must commit to moving in without knowing the potential impact on their bills.
Campbell resident Tom Swann said a monstrous $2000 winter gas bill "freaked" his housemates out, making them rely less on heating and more on do-it-yourself retrofits.
He uses masking tape to seal off draughts in their rental property, and has a sheet partition to keep the space around his bed insulated.
"A lot of rentals in Canberra, especially the ones that students cycle through, are really poor quality," he said.
"They've got massive draughts around doors and windows ... I've lived in some absolute shockers."
Mr Swann said the government should be concerned with the lack of energy efficient rentals in the ACT, as it was bad for the territory's marketing.
"You've got all these people ... coming into Canberra [who] end up getting sick in their living room," he said.
"They go home and tell everyone about it."