New incentive scheme for property owners to fill empty homes

This announcement is for: 
Home buyer / ownerTenant
  • New $5,000 incentive to convert vacant properties into long-term rental homes
  • Scheme is the Cook Government's latest initiative to boost housing supply
  • Six-month extension for successful Short-Term Rental Accommodation (STRA) Incentive Scheme, to return even more properties to the long-term rental market

The Cook Labor Government will offer $5,000 incentives to vacant property owners to bring them onto the long-term rental market for Western Australians to lease.

Funded as part of the 2024-25 State Budget, the new $5 million Vacant Property Rental Incentive Scheme will offer payments to owners of up to 1,000 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;
  • 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 pay the grant money back.

This new initiative follows the successful implementation of the Government's STRA Incentive Scheme, which has already prompted 150 owners to take up the $10,000 incentive payments and switch their properties from short stay accommodation to the long-term rental market.

Applications for the STRA Incentive Scheme were due to close on 8 May 2024, but will now remain open until 8 November 2024, to allow more time for owners to make the switch.

Comments attributed to Premier Roger Cook:

"Western Australia's nation-leading economy and attractive lifestyle are driving significant demand for housing, so we are leaving no stone unturned in our work to boost supply of homes.

"My Government's 2024-25 State Budget will fund a range of new measures to get more Western Australians into existing and new homes, including our Vacant Property Rental Incentive Scheme and continued support for building and construction apprentices to finish their training.

"Modelled on our successful Short-Term Rental Accommodation Incentive Scheme, this latest offer is designed to address the issue of much-needed properties sitting vacant and make them available for rent."  

Comments attributed to Treasurer Rita Saffioti:

"This initiative has the potential to bring up to 1,000 properties back onto the rental market that would otherwise be sitting vacant and unused and, most importantly, could support up to 1,000 Western Australian households to find a long-term rental.

"We've always said that our Government continues to do everything it can to ease pressure on the housing market, thinking outside the box with innovative policies and schemes like this, and I certainly encourage any eligible homeowner with a vacant property to consider taking this up."

Comments attributed to Commerce Minister Sue Ellery:

"The Vacant Property Rental Incentive Scheme is the latest in a series of initiatives by the Cook Government to increase housing stock across Western Australia.

"With the success of the $10,000 STRA Incentive Scheme bringing properties back onto the long-term rental market, we hope to boost those numbers further through this new initiative, along with extending the STRA incentive scheme."

Comments attributed to Planning and Housing Minister John Carey:

"Our Government continues to think outside the box and look at a range of measures, not just to provide new housing, but to better utilise existing stock to boost housing supply across the continuum.

"This measure complements our other initiatives - including stronger regulation for short-term rental accommodation, which will require metropolitan short-term rentals to get planning approval and our $10,000 incentive for STRA property owners to return their properties to the rental market."

Consumer Protection
Media release
07 May 2024

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