Homes to be rented out below market rate to fight affordability crisis
Advertisement

Homes to be rented out below market rate to fight affordability crisis

The ACT's largest community housing provider has been awarded $230,000 to establish a scheme aimed at tackling the territory's rental housing affordability crisis.

Community Housing Canberra will use the territory government funding to develop a program that encourages landlords to rent their properties out to low-income households at below market rates.

The approach is modelled on the one used by Melbourne not-for-profit organisation HomeGround Real Estate, which recently branched into Sydney.

Community Housing Canberra chief executive Andrew Hannan said the scheme was "not a silver bullet", but a positive step that had the potential to make a dent in the territory's rental housing affordability crisis.

Mr Hannan said he hoped the scheme would start early next year, and that the territory government could inventivise landlords to take part by adopting an ACT Greens proposal raised in the Legislative Assembly last month.

Advertisement

Under the proposal, landlords who cut their rent prices by up to 25 per cent of the market value would receive an exemption on land tax, as long as the property was managed by a registered community housing provider.

Housing Minister Yvette Berry has previously promised to investigate the proposal as part of the government's long-awaited affordable housing strategy, which is due to be released by the end of the year.

ACT Housing Minister Yvette Berry, who will investigate a proposal to give land tax exemptions to landlords who offer homes for rent at below market value, as part of the government's affordable housing strategy.

ACT Housing Minister Yvette Berry, who will investigate a proposal to give land tax exemptions to landlords who offer homes for rent at below market value, as part of the government's affordable housing strategy.Credit:Dion Georgopoulos

"[The new scheme] is a small, but tangible step by the government and we're delighted to be the recipient of the funding," Mr Hannan said.

"Coupled with other measures, like the land tax exemptions, it can be used to close the very evident gap that leaves many low-income Canberrans in housing stress."

Mr Hannan said households' eligibility for the scheme would be consistent with Community Housing Canberra's existing criteria, which is based on income, assets and family make-up.

He said the project would be one of "multiple channels" used by Community Housing Canberra to reach its goal of supplying affordable housing for 2000 Canberrans by 2022. Currently, it provides housing for more than 1300 Canberrans.

"Our purpose and sole desire to do this is to grow the supply of affordable rentals," he said, admitting that even with land tax exemptions, there would "probably be a philanthropic element" for landlords who took part in the new scheme.

Ms Berry announced the $230,000 in funding , which is part of the territory government's $1 million affordable housing innovation fund, on Tuesday.

She said co-housing projects Smart Urban Villages and the Environmental Collective Housing Organisation would also receive $35,000 and $15,000, respectively, to test innovate housing approaches.

Tuesday's announcement comes after the government was criticised in June for increasing its community housing targets for the current financial year by just 20 sites as the territory grapples with a housing affordability crisis amid rising rents and land prices.

The three projects to receive government money are the first to be funded under the affordable housing innovation fund, with the second round of grants to be announced later this year.

The second round will call for a home sharing scheme, a specialist disability accommodation project and supported housing projects on under-utilised community land.

It will also incorporate dedicated accommodation for low-income families escaping domestic violence, and other innovative approaches to boosting affordable housing supply.

Blake Foden is a reporter at the Sunday Canberra Times. He has worked as a journalist in Australia, New Zealand and the UK.

Most Viewed in National

Loading
Advertisement