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WA offers $10k incentive to flip Airbnbs onto long-term market

By Juliet Helmke
13 November 2023 | 12 minute read
Roger Cook reb

A slew of new regulations on short-term rentals in Western Australia – and some monetary bonuses – are designed to push property owners back into the long-term market.

Western Australia will now require all short-term rentals to be registered with the state, while the government is introducing an incentive for landlords to return homes to the long-term market. This comes quickly on the heels of the state’s introduction of a rental relief program to aid tenants at risk of homelessness.

The new STRA Incentive Scheme will be active for six months, applying to “unhosted” properties (i.e. entire homes) that have been advertised on short-term booking platforms, such as Airbnb or Stays, within the past six weeks.

Anyone who transitions those properties to long-term leases will be eligible for a $10,000 payment from the government.

There will be a two-stage payment process that consists of a $4,000 payment once eligible applications are approved, and a $6,000 payment after the long-term tenancy rental agreement reaches 12 months.

Property owners can now submit an expression of interest online with the formal application process expected to begin by the end of 2023.

There will, however, be caps on the amount of rent that a landlord can charge, depending on the region in which they formerly operated.

In Perth, the incentive will only be available to property owners charging $800 per week or less, while that drops to $650 in the South West.

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For those who are committed to keeping their properties on the STRA market, there will be a host of new regulations to contend with.

The state’s premier, Roger Cook, said he intends to establish a register of all short-term rentals, where properties must be listed with before taking short-term bookings.

In addition, the government said it will introduce new requirements for STRA properties in the Perth metropolitan area, including the need to obtain council planning approval to advertise unhosted STRA properties.

Perth property owners will now be obligated to submit an application to their local councils if they intend to run unhosted short-term rentals that operate for more than 90 nights in a year. In regional areas, including the Peel region, local governments will determine when planning approval is required.

The registration system is expected to open mid-2024 and all STRA properties, including those that do not require planning approval (such as hosted STRA properties), will need to be registered by 1 January 2025.

While the Premier did not frame these changes as a way to disincentivise short-term rental hosting, calling it “an important part of Western Australia’s tourism offering,” he said that the the impact it was having on the housing choices in some communities was “impossible to ignore”.

The reforms, he said, would “create a more level playing field with traditional accommodation providers while ensuring regulation is in place to manage impacts on neighbourhoods and housing supply for local communities”.

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,” Mr Cook stated.

Cath Hart, CEO of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia, came out in support of the government’s plans, while also cautioning that the impacts could be small.

“The short-stay market is not the silver bullet for the rental issues we are facing. According to research by the Real Estate Institute of Australia earlier this year, entire short-stay dwellings that may be suitable for long-term rentals only make up a small percentage of total dwellings and the ratio to private rental dwellings was generally low,” she said.

“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,” she noted.

“If [the] short-stay incentive puts a roof over one family’s head, that’s a positive.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Juliet Helmke

Based in Sydney, Juliet Helmke has a broad range of reporting and editorial experience across the areas of business, technology, entertainment and the arts. She was formerly Senior Editor at The New York Observer.

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