Update: NRAS Regulations Amended, Legal Information Seminar on Provision of Housing by Charities and OAGDS Review

Mark Fowler
Mark Fowler (4 June 2015)

NRAS Amendment: Rental Reviews

The National Rental Affordability Scheme Regulations 2008 (Cth) have been amended to remove the following requirements concerning rental reviews:

1. The requirement that rental reviews occur upon entering a new lease; or for an existing lease—no more often than at 12 monthly intervals from the date of entering into the lease.

2. The requirements that any increase in rent must be:

(a) based on information about the location, type and amenity of the approved rental dwelling; and
(b) supported by publicly available data about comparative rental rates in the locale of the dwelling, other than data relating to other dwellings owned or associated with the approved participant.

3. The concomitant allowance that approved participants may increase the rent if no information or data under dotpoint 2 above is available.

The existing requirement that ‘the rent that is charged for the rental dwelling must, at all times during the year, be at least 20% less than the market value rent for the dwelling’ remains.

The amendments take effect as legislation from 02 June 2015 and a special provision provides that they apply to the 2014/2015 NRAS Year and further NRAS years falling after that time.

Approved Participants should consider to what extent the amendments align with their practices for rental reviews. As the condition of payment of an NRAS Incentive includes compliance with the requirements for the setting of rent, Approved Participants should of course ensure that their methodology for the setting of rent complies with the new requirements and make any adjustments necessary. Approved Participants should also consider to what extent any existing or prospective contractual obligations with owners of rental dwellings accord with the new requirements and, where necessary, make amendments to ensure proper alignment.

Seminar Invitation

Due to the high level of interest received we are putting on a second Neumann & Turnour Lawyers legal information seminar entitled “Provision of housing by charities: the ACNC Commissioner’s Interpretation Statement” which is to be held on Wednesday, 24 June 2015.

In the seminar Mark Fowler will discuss the Commissioner’s Interpretation Statement on the Provision of Housing by Charities 2014/02 (CIS) and the following topics:

1. What led the ACNC to consider the need for a CIS on housing;
2. What the CIS can be used for;
3. Traditional understandings as to when you can provide housing for a charitable purpose, for example, relief of poverty, sickness, aged, disabilities;
4. Whether housing can be provided in furtherance of other relevant charitable purposes such as human rights, provision of housing to key workers, or providing a better mix of housing tenures facilitating stable, mixed-income communities;
5. The provision of housing for the relief of poverty;
6. What the undertaking of purely commercial activities means for the charitable status of housing providers; and
7. Winding up clauses and relationships with State or Territory Government Housing Schemes.

Details of the event are as follows:

When: 24 June 2015 from 12:30pm to 2pm.
Where: Boardroom, Neumann & Turnour Lawyers, Level 1, 95 North Quay, Brisbane 4000.

A complimentary light lunch will be provided.

To RSVP contact us or call Jeanne or Bree on (07) 3837 3600 by Monday 22 June 2015. Places are limited.

Submissions and Roundtable Discussions on OAGD Review

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have extended an invitation to roundtable discussions in Sydney (23 June 2015), Melbourne (24 June 2015) or Brisbane (29 June 2015), as part of the review of the Overseas Aid Gift Deduction Scheme (OAGDS).

OAGDS enables approved Australian NGOs to issue tax-deductible receipts for donations to support their aid activities. The aim of the review is to make the OAGDS guidelines and processes clearer, simpler and more robust while reflecting current international development practice and standards.

Tax deductible donations can be a major incentive to the public to contribute to overseas development work. The roundtables will be an opportunity to talk to the DFAT staff who work with the OAGDS, provide feedback on the current guidelines and processes, and have a voice in the review of the OAGDS (Places are limited). Follow this link to find out more.

Submissions to the review close on 30 June 2015. Please contact us if you require assistance in making a submission.