In 2012, the NSW Government established the Boarding Houses Act 2012. Since that time, the boarding house sector has grown and changed – sometimes with quite negative consequences for lower-income and vulnerable renters.
In 2019 the NSW Government commissioned a formal review of the legislation and its impacts. Shelter NSW commissioned the City Futures Research Centre at UNSW to undertake extensive research on the sector. This was submitted in 2019.
On 6 August 2020, the NSW government tabled the final report detailing the outcome of the review. The City Futures and Shelter NSW report, as well as Shelter NSW’s submission and those of other peaks, is noted throughout the report.
Shelter NSW is pleased that a great many of the reforms recommended by Shelter NSW and other critical peak organisation appear to have been adopted.
A copy of the NSW Government report can be found here.
According the NSW Government, the report ‘contains 21 recommendations to reform the Boarding Houses Act, including:
- Ensuring appropriate rights and responsibilities for shared accommodation residents
- Introducing new provisions to address fire safety and overcrowding
- Further consultation on the delivery of accommodation and individualised supports to residents in assisted boarding houses to meet contemporary disability standards.
The next step will be for the Government to take recommended amendments to the Act into the Parliament. This is expected in 2021. In the meantime, Shelter NSW has participated in several workshops looking more closely at the operation of the Assisted Boarding House sector. We will watch the passage of this legislation with a critical eye.