Property Buzz

PropertyBuzz, your daily dose of property news.

Undercover agents enforce WA’s new laws; build-to-rent gets another tax break, and what’s causing private investors to rush the commercial market.

Welcome to Property Buzz! I’m Juliet Helmke. Today is Friday, 17 May.

– Undercover compliance officers will be attending property inspections to ensure adherence to Western Australia’s new rental rules, according to the state’s consumer watchdog.

– New laws effective from 14 May, 2024, prohibit soliciting higher rent offers from prospective tenants as well as advertising ranges for properties, instead of a fixed price. Violations can result in penalties up to $10,000 for individuals or $50,000 for corporations.

– In addition to the regulations relating to rental pricing, new protections for tenants who believe they are being unfairly treated for exercising their tenancy rights are also in effect.

– If a tenant believes the landlord has taken retaliatory action – such as a rent increase, breach notice or lease termination in response to maintenance requests or refusing unreasonable access –  the tenant can now challenge this in the Magistrates Court.

– Also in WA, the state government has passed a bill to incentivize build-to-rent developments and increase rental supply.

– The bill provides a 50 per cent land tax exemption for up to 20 years for eligible build-to-rent developments, which must meet specific criteria including having at least 40 self-contained dwellings and being owned and managed by the same entity.

– If an eligible development stops meeting the criteria within the first 15 years, owners will be liable for retrospective land tax. The exemption is available from the 2023-24 assessment year, and anyone who has already paid tax can apply and receive a refund if they qualify.

– And over in commercial real estate, risk-taking private investors are making headway into Australia’s office market, blowing institutional investors out of the water.

– Private actors now make up 61 per cent of commercial office transactions in Sydney, as institutional investors are pushed to the backburner, according to research from Savills.

– The firm reported that private investors were responsible for over half of office transactions in Q1 2024, more than 2.5 times their historical average share. 

– Compared to institutional investors, who can often be bogged down by lengthy procedures, private buyers benefit from greater agility and liquidity due to their small size. And they have reportedly been moving quickly as the market picks up.

That’s Property Buzz for today. See you again tomorrow, 18 May, for your daily dose of Property Buzz.

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