Government beefs up protection for rental housing investors, urges Labor to back changes

The Morrison Government has made regulatory changes to the $3.1 billion National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) to provide investors with much-needed protection and security.

Minister for Families and Social Services, Paul Fletcher, said the start of the National Rental Affordability Scheme Amendment (Investor Protection) Regulations 2018 means that investors will now have greater protection against dodgy behaviour from some businesses involved in the scheme.

“These new protections fill glaring holes in Labor’s original design for NRAS which did not even mention investors, let alone provide protections for them.” Mr Fletcher said.

“Unfortunately a small number of providers are acting against the spirit of the scheme by delaying or not making payments to investors, or forcing them to use particular property managers. Sadly, quite a number of mum and dad investors, saving for their retirement, have been victims of this behaviour.  It’s got to stop – and that’s what these changes are designed to do.”

NRAS increases the supply of new and affordable rental dwellings by providing incentives to housing providers who offer affordable rental dwellings at least 20 per cent below market rates.

Almost 35,000 rental properties nationally attract investment incentives, which are worth $300m over 2018-19.

Mr Fletcher urged the Labor Party to back these protections contained in the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Housing Affordability) Bill 2017, which is currently before Parliament.
The Bill also introduces the Automatic Rent Deduction Scheme, which aims to reduce homelessness and eviction rates among social housing tenants

Assistant Minister for Social Services, Housing and Disability Services, Sarah Henderson, said these changes build on reforms delivered by the Government last year.

“Mum and dad investors who are contributing to the supply of more affordable housing under NRAS should not be left at the mercy of dodgy practices from unscrupulous providers – just because of serious design flaws in Labor’s original legislation.”

“That is why we have introduced these changes to the Regulations and why we are pushing hard to get changes to the Act in place by the end of the year.”