Jenny Scutt had been a residential property manager for many years but was planning a change; that was until she heard about YWCA Canberra starting its own service, Rentwell.
Started in May 2019, the organisation is a charitable property management service that rents out properties to those on modest incomes at 74.9 per cent of the market rate or less.
Ms Scutt describes Rentwell as “property management with a purpose”.
“The landlords that come on board are doing it for the right reasons. Yes there are advantages for them, but generally, they want to help get people into secure housing,” she said.
“The tenants we have housed include women who have experienced domestic violence, older women, women with children, families, and people from refugee backgrounds. It’s people who are finding it difficult to get into a property in the commercial market, and now they have a home they can afford.”
In exchange for renting it out at a lower rate, landlords are exempt from paying land tax under the ACT government’s pilot program. Owners are also provided with a Deductible Gift Tax Receipt from YWCA Canberra for the difference between the commercial and affordable rental rate.
The model operates like any property management service. There is no waiting list, and the properties are opened for the public to inspect and apply for, but only those prospective tenants whose income falls between the specific limits for each property are considered.
“I explain to people, it’s run like a private real estate agency with all the same sorts of services, except owners sign a head lease with YWCA Canberra and the property is offered at an affordable rate for the tenants,” said Ms Scutt.
“All of our tenants work, they are moderate-income earners, but the set up is under standard residential tenancy terms.
“We still do routine rental inspections, we still chase rent arrears, and they still have to ask permission to put hooks in the walls.”
To date, Rentwell has leased 12 properties with 26 tenants; another five properties will come online in the next month.
Rentwell wants more philanthropic property owners to ‘jump on board’, but Ms Scutt said owners must be committed.
“We’re interested in working collaboratively with property owners who share our values and want to make a positive difference in the lives of fellow Canberrans,” she said.
“We ensure owners are comfortable with the Rentwell model and know that their properties are going to be looked after.”
Allhomes is proud to partner with Rentwell and helps with advertising initiatives.