National Rental Affordability Scheme — legislation, regulations and policy guidelines

Legislation and regulations

The legislative framework for the Scheme is provided through the National Rental Affordability Scheme Act 2008, the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (Division 380) and the National Rental Affordability Scheme Regulations.

NRAS Regulations - Amendments to create protections for investors

The National Rental Affordability Scheme Regulations 2008 have been amended to provide, for the first time, protections for NRAS investors.

The amendments introduce a power for the Secretary of the Department of Social Services (or her Delegate) to transfer an allocation attached to an approved rental dwelling from one approved participant to another, if certain grounds exist. These grounds include, but are not limited to, where approved participants are not passing on the NRAS incentive to the NRAS investor (where there is a contractual arrangement to do so) within a reasonable time of receiving the incentive, or where the actions of an approved participant have contravened a consumer protection law in relation to the NRAS allocation. The transfer can be initiated by the Department or at the request of an investor.

The information sheet Investor Protection Regulatory Amendments describes the amendments in detail.

NRAS Regulations as amended July 2017

The NRAS Regulations have been amended to address provisions that result in disproportionate penalties for non-compliance with certain conditions, the consequences of which are contrary to the intent of the Scheme. The amendments represent the first stage in a staged approach to amending the NRAS legislative framework to provide for the efficient administration of the Scheme until it ceases operation in 2026-27.

The first amendment introduces greater flexibility around issuing proportional incentives for dwellings with vacancy periods across two NRAS years. This amendment will come into effect as of 15 July 2017, and will apply retrospectively as of the NRAS year that commenced on 1 May 2016. For more information, please see the information sheet Amendments to NRAS Regulations – Vacancy Periods.

The second amendment gives the Secretary the discretion to amend the conditions of a reservation in relation to the size of (or number of bedrooms in) a dwelling after a provisional allocation has been made. This amendment will come into effect as of 15 July 2017, and will apply in relation to reservations of allocation that were made before 15 July 2017. For more information, please see the information sheet Amendments to NRAS Regulations – Bedroom Size.

Reconsideration and Internal Review Guidelines

The Reconsideration and Internal Review Guidelines have been developed to assist approved participants who are seeking a reconsideration, or an internal review of a decision made by the Secretary or delegate. The guidelines provide information on the processes to follow when seeking a reconsideration, or an internal review of decision.

Explanatory Guide

This guide provides details of the implementation and administration of the National Rental Affordability Scheme to complement the legislative and regulatory framework and should be used in conjunction with the information sheets available on the Department’s website.

Regulator Performance Framework

From 1 July 2015, the National Rental Affordability Scheme will be subject to the Government’s new Regulator Performance Framework.

The Framework has been developed following consultation with a range of stakeholders, it consists of six outcomes-based key performance indicators covering reducing regulatory burden, communications, risk-based and proportionate approaches, efficient and coordinated monitoring, transparency, and continuous improvement.

For further details, please refer to:

NRAS Regulations – June 2015 changes

Further amendments to the National Rental Affordability Scheme Regulations 2008 came into effect on 2 June 2015. More information about these amendments can be found on the Letter advising of an amendment to the NRAS Regulations regarding the requirements for rent reviews page.

NRAS Regulations – November 2014 changes

Further amendments to the National Rental Affordability Scheme Regulations 2008 came into effect on 4 November 2014.  

Key aspects of this round of amendments include:

  • new last permissible day for submitting the Statement of Compliance (30 June);
  • changes to the ‘permitted valuation period’ which allows greater flexibility for Approved Participants to submit Market Rent Valuation documentation (by extending it to 26 weeks - beginning 13 weeks before and ending 13 weeks after the actual first available for rent).

More information about these amendments can be found on the NRAS resources, documents and information page.

NRAS Regulations – September changes

Amendments have been made to the National Rental Affordability Scheme Regulations 2008 to improve the integrity and administration of NRAS. The amendments commenced on Tuesday 23 September 2014.

Key aspects of the amendments include:

  • The introduction of a provisional allocation if a dwelling is not made available by the agreed rental availability date
  • New limitations on changes to the conditions of reserved allocations
  • The requirement for Applicants to fully disclose all commercial arrangements in respect of an application to change the conditions of reservation of allocation for a rental dwelling that has not yet been brought into the scheme
  • The capacity for endorsed charities to elect to change the incentive type, and
  • Other minor amendments that will improve the administration of the scheme.

More information about these amendments can be found on the NRAS resources, documents and information page.

NRAS Application to Vary the Conditions of Reservation

The NRAS Application to Vary the Conditions of Reservation form is the approved form under Regulation 23A and must be used to make any application during the transitional period

NRAS related taxation issues

The Australian Government incentive may be in the form of cash or a tax offset certificate. For information on NRAS refundable tax offsets and other taxation issues, visit the Australian Tax Office website.

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