The peak bodies for community services, housing and homelessness in Western Australia warmly welcome today’s State Government announcement on much-needed reforms to short-term rental accommodation.

The Western Australian Council of Social Service (WACOSS) and Shelter WA view the introduction of a 90-night threshold (before Development Application is required) for whole properties let as Short Term Rentals as a pathway to significantly and immediately increasing supply of rentals for Western Australians.

The proposed reforms will include a $10,000 incentive available for properties currently let as short stay accommodation to return or enter to the private rental market for at least 12 months, and rented for under $800 per week in the metro area and $650 in the South West.

Owners will be offered $4,000 up front on the condition that a 12 month lease is in place by  May 2024, with the remaining $6,000 paid at the end of the lease.

WACOSS Chief Executive Officer Louise Giolitto said these changes will make a much needed increase in the supply of rental properties in WA.

“Essential workers and some of our most vulnerable people like single parent families have been struggling to keep a roof over their heads – while houses are sitting empty for significant periods of the year,” she said.

“These reforms will boost housing supply and hopefully reduce the demand on affordable houses for lower income families. 

“We commend the Cook Government for activating every lever available to make more housing available.”

Shelter WA CEO Kath Snell said they have advocated for the reform of short stay accommodation for quite some time and is glad to see the Government has responded.

“With this announcement, we congratulate the Cook Government for the courage to introduce an incentive to increase urgently needed rental supply.  

“We have provided the WA government with data on the impact of the Short Stay Rental Market – including the sobering finding that in WA right now there are approximately 3 short term rentals for every 1 private rental currently listed.

“If these reforms incentivise just one quarter of the AIrbnbs into rental housing that will literally double the current rental supply in WA.

“About half of all airbnbs currently listed (just under 4000 homes) are one and two bedrooms homes, we expect to see this $10,000 incentive attract more of these properties into the rental supply.

“The metro based decision to ensure all short term rentals must go through planning approval, (with a 90 night exception), should definitely see more properties return to the long term rental pool.

“Congratulations to the Premier, Minister Carey, Minister Ellery and the WA State Government on these decisions – we truly believe they will positively impact the rental market, and we are excited to see the impact.

“We will be keeping a close eye on the impact of these reforms on vacancy rates and rental affordability.

“We understand this is not a silver bullet but part of a package of solutions the WA government is introducing, including the $24.4m Rent Relief scheme announced yesterday.

“These changes, along with the rent relief program of $24.4 million announced yesterday, shows the Government is taking housing and cost-of-living seriously.

“Our focus now must be on measures to grow new supply of rental homes and improving security of tenure for existing renters,” Ms Snell concluded.

A detailed summary of short stay accommodation listings across all local government areas across WA at September 2023 can be found here.

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