While a solution to the ongoing rental crisis was lacking in the recent Federal Budget, the Victorian Government has made some headway to tackle the issue, announcing a plan to subsidise rent for 2,400 new homes.

Under the new scheme, families who earn up to $132,000 can rent homes from the Victorian state government at cheaper rates, part of an effort to ease housing affordability concerns in the state.

Victoria’s Housing Minister, Richard Wynne, announced the affordable housing rental scheme on Friday, 1 April, saying about 2,400 homes from the government’s $5.3bn “big housing build” would be made available to rent.

What does this mean for me?

If you live in metropolitan Melbourne, rents will be set at least 10% below the median market for the area – and then capped at 30% of the median income in Melbourne.

Or, if you live in regional Victoria, rents will be set at the median market rental price for that area and limited at 30% of the median income in regional Victoria.

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What’s the eligibility criteria?

You don’t need to be eligible for social housing to participate in this scheme. That said, if you’re on the Victorian Housing Register, you will be encouraged to apply for relevant properties.

The government will begin market engagement in the coming weeks to identify rental managers for the properties, and the first renters should be able to move in by the end of 2022. Minister Wynne said any profits from the scheme would be reinvested into affordable housing.

To be eligible for the scheme in Melbourne:

  • Singles can earn up to $62,860;
  • Couples can earn up to $94,300; and
  • Families can have a combined income of less than $132,030.

Low and moderate-income essential workers, including many healthcare workers and carers, will be eligible in areas of workforce shortage in regional Victoria.

To be eligible for the scheme in regional Victoria:

  • Singles can earn up to $45,820;
  • Couples can earn up to $68,730; and
  • Families can earn up to $96,220.

Where will the homes be located?

At least 500 homes will be located in regional Victoria, including Ballarat, Bendigo, and Greater Geelong.

The first homes in metropolitan Melbourne will be in Ascot Vale, Ashburton and Heidelberg.

In his statement released on 1 April, Minister Wynne said the scheme would help sustain and grow affordable housing, ensuring Victorians would have “the safety, security and dignity of a home”.

“The new Affordable Housing Scheme will offer an important new option to low- and moderate-income earners – including aged care, retail and hospitality workers – who need to find a secure rental,” he said.

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What are the next steps?

Homes Victoria, the government agency that manages Victoria’s housing system, will begin market engagement next month to identify rental managers for the new properties across Victoria.

The first renters will be able to move in as early as the end of this year.

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