There are two separate reviews underway on boarding and lodging
There are currently two separate reviews underway on boarding and lodging. The Public Health Act 1911 Review that refers to the operation of boarding and lodging facilities and the Residential Tenancies Act (1987) review focused on bringing resident rights in line with tenant rights.
Building a joint sector position
In response to both reviews, Shelter WA held a boarders and lodgers consultation workshop on Thursday 12 March to guide its submission process and build a joint sector position.
WA is the only jurisdiction in Australia that does not regulate the rights and responsibilities of boarders, which has led to much legislative and regulatory confusion and poorer housing outcomes for people who reside in lodging accommodation. The WA State Government must consider the right type of regulation that provides adequate resident protections as well as certainty and clarity for lodging accommodation providers.
At the workshop there were representatives for residents, not-for-profit boarding and lodging providers such as Foundation Housing and Access Housing, and private providers to ensure broad input into this issue.
Participants covered the importance of boarding and lodging accommodation in the housing system providing housing choice for many people. It can assist in attaining affordable housing prevents homelessness.
It was emphasised how the demand for marginal accommodation in boarding houses is likely to increase due to the increasing lack of affordable housing options overall and the growing numbers of low income and single person households.
Some of the areas of focus during the discussion included:
• Clarity of definitions and their application of lodging or boarding accommodation.
• Accountable and clear regulations, provisions and responsibilities for both residents and accommodation providers (e.g. terminations, minimum standards, the rights of residents, bonds and the obligations of accommodation providers etc.)
• The impacts of any changes or additions to the legislation on residents and accommodation providers.
Shelter WA will now work on submissions for both legislative reviews ready to be submitted for the end of April. If you would like to have input into our submission please contact Jack Thornton via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shelter WA would like to thank everyone who attended for their invaluable input. It was positive to see the collaboration and unity between residents and accommodation providers to ensure all people in WA have housing that enables them to thrive.