The Victorian Government has announced a new housing plan to tackle the rental crisis, including an Australian-first tax for short-term rentals.
There will also be new rules for rentals. These include restrictions on rent increases.
Here’s a summary of the raft of housing measures.
In Australian first, the Victorian Government has announced a 7.5% tax on money made by ‘short-stay’ housing platforms such as Airbnb.
Premier Daniel Andrews said this would apply to about 36,000 properties and would raise about $70 million a year.
The money would be given to the government agency Homes Victoria, which is responsible for maintaining social housing.
This will come into effect from 2025.
Rules for renters
There are a number of rule changes for renters and landlords in Victoria.
Landlords who evict a tenant after an initial 12-month lease expires will not be able to charge more rent to the next tenant.
Landlords will also be required to give 90 days notice of rent increases and evictions.
The Government will also make it an offence for landlords to accept bids above a property’s advertised rental price.
Rental applications will be standardised to limit the level of detail landlords can ask prospective tenants to provide.
Bonds will also become ‘portable’, to allow tenants to carry a bond amount over from one property to another when moving, without having to pay a ‘double bond’.
The Government plans to build 80,000 houses a year over the next decade. To meet this target, ten ‘priority areas’ have been identified for higher density. They include Camberwell Junction, Chadstone, Frankston, Ringwood, and Preston’s High Street.
There are plans to sell 45 publicly-owned land sites to facilitate more new builds, which will include some affordable housing.
The Government will take approval powers away from local councils for large residential developments.
This would apply to builds worth at least $50 million in Melbourne or $15 million in regional Victoria, where at least 10% of the housing is affordable (has below-market rent).
The Government will also set up a team to work with councils to clear a backlog of 1,400 proposals awaiting a council decision.
The Victorian Opposition has criticised the Airbnb tax component of the plan, labelling it a ‘holiday and tourism tax’.
Shadow Tourism Minister Sam Groth said it would make Victoria “a less attractive destination for international and interstate visitors” and make it more expensive for Victorians to travel away on weekends.