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Increased protections for people living in shared accommodation

12 August 2020

The NSW Government is revamping how it regulates shared accommodation to improve the rights and responsibilities of occupants, Minister for Better Regulation, Kevin Anderson, announced today.

 

Mr Anderson said the new package of reforms will increase protections for some of the state’s most vulnerable residents and implement recommendations made in the Boarding Houses Act 2012 Statutory Review Report, including rewriting the Act to become the Shared Accommodation Act.

“The Boarding Houses Act was a landmark piece of legislation when introduced in 2012. Our reforms will build on it to ensure the protections introduced for boarding house are improved and expanded to apply to the wider range of people who now live in shared accommodation,” Mr Anderson said.

“Whether it’s a student or someone getting back on their feet, thousands of people stay and live in shared accommodation each week, and it’s time the legislation caught up to reflect the reality of 2020.

“The changes will ensure stronger protections are in place for occupants in shared accommodation such as prescribing standard form agreements, minimum notice periods and requiring a property to be ‘fit for habitation’.”

The new legislation will cover all shared arrangements where someone rents a space as their principal place of residence and shares a kitchen, bathroom or bedroom with others. This is likely to include arrangements where people live in boarding houses as well as some co-living premises, student accommodation and private lodging arrangements.

Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward said the review also provided an opportunity to better support people with disability living in boarding houses.

“Consultation with people with disability, providers and advocates highlighted the need to ensure supports delivered in assisted boarding houses are consistent with those offered under the National Disability Insurance Scheme,” Mr Ward said.

“We will continue to work closely with residents, proprietors and the sector to enable people to with disability to exercise choice and control over the supports they receive.”

Drafting of the new Act has commenced, with targeted sector consultation planned for the second half of 2020. The Boarding Houses Act 2012 Statutory Review Report is available.

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