TUNSW Report on 5 years of the Boarding Houses Act 2012

The Tenants' Union today released its report marking five years montage of boarding house residents and boarding housesof the Boarding Houses Act 2012, the first legislation to give rights to boarding house residents in New South Wales. The report finds that while the Act was an historic step forward which has brought some improvement, it has not created the real change needed for the residents of boarding houses in our state.

Key Recommendations:

  • The NSW Government should provide ongoing resources for community education projects on the Boarding Houses Act 2012 and its Occupancy Principles.
  • The Act should ensure greater protection against unfair evictions.
  • The Act should restrict occupancy fee increases to no more than once per year and allow residents to apply to NCAT to challenge the increases.
  • The Act and Regulations should create standard form boarding house agreements for use in a range of key boarding house types, and mandate their use.
  • The NSW Government should increase the abilities and resources for local councils to enforce the provisions of the Act.

Since the Act began, the Tenants' Union and Tenants' Advice and Advocacy Services have assisted over 1600 boarders and lodgers with their housing issues. To guide this report, the Tenants' Union also interviewed boarding house residents, tenant advocates, local government officers and a range of community workers including from homelessness services, student organisations and neighbourhood centres.

The NSW government will soon begin its own consultations on the Act, with a report due in Parliament in October.