Australian-first affordable rental scheme on offer by the Victorian government has about 2,400 homes from the government’s $5.3bn big housing build that will become available to rent for low- to middle-income earners by July 2027. Rents at these properties will be set at least 10% below the median market rent of the area, capped at 30% of the median income.
Despite securing a contract as a goalkeeper for A-League club Melbourne Victory, Templeman said she and her partner – a second-year engineering apprentice – would have struggled to find a rental property they could afford.
“Unfortunately, there’s not as much money in the female side of sport so we didn’t have a huge budget and not a lot of rental experience as we had both mainly lived with our parents on the other side of the country in Perth,” she said.
Tenants began moving into the Kensington apartment block in April, while more than 150 affordable properties in Ascot Vale and Ashburton will become available in the coming months. The program will also roll out in Victorian regional centres. The homes are being be allocated by ballot rather than a needs-based assessment, which has been criticised by advocates, who fear those most in need may miss out.
The Housing Minister, Colin Brooks, acknowledged it was an incredibly tough time for Victorians and said this scheme was particularly tailored to those on a low to moderate income to provide a sense of security and safety.
Brooks said the government was looking at ways to ensure essential workers and older Victorians had access to the scheme. To be eligible for the affordable housing in Melbourne, applicants must be earning under $64,020 for a single person, $96,030 for a couple, or $134,450 for a family. Income thresholds are lower in regional Victoria.
Homes Victoria has engaged the tech company Snug to create a purpose-built platform to take applications for the program. Snug’s opaque and potentially discriminatory use of applicants’ personal data to ‘score’ them against properties, giving them a higher score when they offered to pay more rent. Brooks maintained the ballot process was designed after consultation to take out any bias in the process. “We see it as the fairest way of choosing people for these wonderful homes,” he said.