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Western Australia launches incentive program to encourage Airbnb owners to transition to long-term leasing


In an effort to ease rental pressures, Western Australia is rolling out a dual strategy involving new regulations for short-term rentals (STRA) and offering lucrative incentives to landlords. The state government is launching the STRA Incentive Scheme—a bold move aiming to entice landlords with properties listed on platforms like Airbnb to convert their listings into long-term rentals.

The scheme promises a $10,000 financial kickback to property owners who make the shift. This initiative is structured around a two-step payment plan, with landlords receiving $4,000 upon gaining scheme approval, followed by an additional $6,000 after the new tenant completes 12 months of residence. Landlords can start expressing their interest online, with the full application process anticipated to kick off by the end of the year.

To further steer the housing market towards long-term availability, the new scheme comes with rental price caps in specific regions. In the bustling city of Perth, only property owners who charge $800 per week or less are eligible, while this threshold drops to $650 in the popular South West area.

Property owners who prefer to remain in the STRA sector will be faced with a set of fresh regulations as outlined by Premier Roger Cook. By mid-2024, all STRA properties must be registered on a new state-established platform before they can accept any short-term guests. This registration requirement extends to both hosted and unhosted listings by 2025.

Roger Cook highlighted, “We are doing everything we can to get more housing and rental properties onto the market quickly to help meet current demand, and I encourage owners of short-term rental accommodation to consider the new incentive and other benefits of transitioning their property to the long-term market.”

In support of the new measures, Cath Hart, CEO of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia, remarked, “The short-stay market is not the silver bullet for the rental issues we are facing […] However, for some short-stay owners, this incentive may encourage them to make the switch. We need every long-term rental we can get at the moment.”

The expectation is clear—this incentivised pivot could be just what’s needed to alleviate some of the housing stresses. The state’s new policy suite addresses not only the need for increased long-term housing but also the consequences that STRAs have on local communities. It’s a complex balance, whereby the government embraces the significance of short-term rentals for tourism, while also acknowledging the concerning impact on housing availability for residents. This new incentive could very well provide a home for families in need, and that’s a step in a welcome direction.

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