In a bid to address rental affordability across Canberra, the Australian Capital Territory government has introduced an indefinite extension for land tax exemptions for landlords who rent their properties at less than 75% of the market rate.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said landlords are now being encouraged to sign up to the Affordable Community Housing Land Tax Exemption scheme to increase the number of affordable rentals in the territory while they reduce their rental property liabilities.

“Rental property owners in the ACT can reduce their land tax completely if they provide their rental property to Canberrans on low to moderate incomes through a registered community housing provider,” he said.

Legislation passed last month has increased the number of slots for the scheme from 125 to 250 properties.

“Incentives such as these empower the community to make a real difference to people’s lives. There are currently 54 landlords involved in the scheme, which means 54 more families with a safe, secure home they can afford,” Barr said.

Figures from SQM Research show that the median weekly house rents in Canberra rose by 4.5% monthly over the week ending 4 May to $688.2. The city has the most expensive weekly house rents among all capital cities.

Rebecca Vassarotti, minister for homelessness and housing services, said the changes will empower more Canberrans to contribute to the government’s mission to end homelessness.

“We all know that Canberra is expensive to rent and that there is a lack of affordable housing options, particularly for those on low incomes,” she said. “This alone can’t solve the affordability crisis, but an important initiative to actively engage homeowners who care to help Canberrans in need access a home. It’s not just a tax incentive, it’s a contribution landlords can be proud of.”