New Vacant Property Rental Incentive Scheme set to boost rental supply


REIWA CEO Cath Hart today welcomed the Cook Government’s Vacant Property Rental Incentive Scheme, noting it would provide more assistance to the tight rental market.

Under the scheme, owners of vacant properties will be offered a $5,000 payment if they make their property available as a long-term rental.

“We’ve seen the success of the Short-Term Rental Accommodation (STRA) Incentive Scheme, which has provided rental homes for 150 households so far, and we expect this new incentive to encourage some vacant property owners to make their homes available as much-needed long-term rentals,” Ms Hart said.

“With the vacancy rate at a record low of just 0.4 per cent, and listings for rent sitting at around 2,000, any initiatives that will put a roof over more people’s heads are very welcome.

“We appreciate that the Government hasn’t taken a punitive approach to this issue as not all vacant properties can be transitioned to the long-term rental market, for example they may be undergoing redevelopment or renovation, so punitive measures such taxes or vacancy fees would be unfair.”

The $5 million Vacant Property Rental Incentive Scheme will offer payments to owners of vacant properties who are willing to provide a minimum 12-month lease agreement to new long-term tenants.

Payments will be made to the property owner once the dwelling has been leased and occupied.

To qualify for the $5,000 payment, the vacant property must meet a number of conditions, including that it:

  • has been vacant for at least six months from 8 November 2023 to 7 May 2024;
  • is a single self-contained property with its own bathroom, kitchen and toilet (spare rooms or ancillary buildings, like granny flats, will not be eligible); and
  • has not been used to receive a payment under the STRA Incentive Scheme.

The property must be tenanted for the full period of the minimum 12-month lease. If the lease is broken during that time, the property must be re-let on the long-term market within six weeks for the owner to avoid having to repay the grant money.

In addition to this new incentive, the Government has extended the STRA scheme to 8 November 2024. It was due to end on 8 May.

“Housing supply is the greatest challenge facing the market at the moment, and in assessing housing policy, the big question is whether it will increase the number of homes that can be built, bought or rented,” Ms Hart said.

“We acknowledge the extensive measures the Government is using to address all aspects of boosting housing supply, from this new initiative and the extension of the short-stay scheme, to the additional investment in social housing and building and construction apprenticeship and training opportunities.”

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