Government moves to maintain rental affordability through NRAS
Strengthened regulation of the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) will give investors greater protection and help maintain rental affordability of up to 38,000 homes.
Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter, said changes introduced through the National Rental Affordability Scheme Amendment (Investor Protection) Regulations 2017 build on the Australian Government’s reforms to improve housing affordability for low to middle income Australians.
“Investors in the national scheme, including many mum-and-dad investors, help to keep rents of up to 38,000 homes at 80 per cent or less than market rent,” Minister Porter said.
“While the majority of organisations participating in the scheme, including for-profit and not-for-profit housing providers, act in accordance with NRAS regulations, better protections are required for investors and ultimately the scheme.
“The scheme increases the supply of affordable rental properties by providing an annual financial incentive to investors through either a tax offset or cash payment for up to ten years.
“NRAS was established by the former government without adequate protections for investors.
“The strengthened regulatory framework provided through new regulations introduced today, give my Department greater powers to compel organisations participating in NRAS to fulfill their contractual obligations to pass tax incentives and payments onto investors in a timely way.
“If housing providers don’t act in the best interests of the scheme or investors, the financial incentive attached to particular dwellings can now be compulsorily transferred to another provider or withdrawn.”
These changes respond to feedback from stakeholders and recommendations from the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) and the Commonwealth Ombudsman.
The Government is undertaking a series of legislative reforms to streamline and simplify the operation and administration of the scheme until it ceases operating in 2026 – 27.