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More new homes and rent limits on the way

National Cabinet has supported a deal to build 1.2 million homes over five years from July 2024, with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese also rejecting the idea of a rent freeze but signalling rent limits are on the cards.

Under the plan, an additional 200,000 homes will be built on top of the one million properties originally announced in the new National Housing Accord in last October’s Federal Government mini Budget.

States and territories will be incentivised by the Federal Government to build the homes with a $3 billion performance fund called the New Home Bonus, which will start in 2028.

States and territories that achieve more than their share of the one million well-located home target under the accord will be able to benefit from the fund.

The Federal Government also announced the Housing Support Program, a $500 million competitive funding program for local and state governments to kick-start housing supply in well-located areas through targeted activation payments for things like connecting essential services, amenities to support new housing development or building planning capability.

“Delivering more housing supply is a vital part of the National Cabinet’s plan to ensure communities thrive as they grow,” Mr Albanese said.

“All governments recognise the best way to ensure that more Australians have a safe and affordable place to call home is to boost housing supply.”

Mr Albanese said National Cabinet had also agreed to a national planning reform blueprint to boost supply and promote medium and high-density housing in well-located areas that are close to public transport, amenities and employment.

“National cabinet also agreed to a National Planning Reform Blueprint that we will distribute, with planning, zoning, land release, and other measures to improve housing, supply and affordability,” he said.

“The blueprint includes updating state, regional and local strategic plans to reflect housing supply targets, promoting medium and high density housing in well located areas, close to existing public transport connections, amenities and employment, and streamlining approval pathways.”

National Cabinet also agreed to A Better Deal for Renters to strengthen renters’ rights across Australia.

The plan includes developing a nationally consistent policy to implement a requirement for genuine reasonable grounds for eviction and moving towards a national standard of no more than one rent increase per year for a tenant in the same property across fixed and ongoing agreements.

Other points include allowing tenants experiencing domestic or family violence to end agreements without penalty and with a streamlined process and evidence, such as a declaration from a doctor or a support service worker.

Measures also include allowing victims to change the locks and make security improvements without the landlord’s permission and have their name removed from databases if property damage is caused by family or domestic violence.

Lease break fees would also be limited for all renters to a maximum prescribed amount, which declines according to how much of the lease has expired, such as a maximum of four weeks’ rent if less than 25 per cent of the fixed term has expired.

Rental applications would also be made easier and have a greater focus on protecting renters’ personal information.

This would include a prescribed rental application form in each jurisdiction, with required documents limited to two in each category, including for identity, ability to pay rent and suitability.

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Editor at Elite Agent.