Sydney’s ongoing housing affordability crisis has hit low income and vulnerable groups with particular severity. The chronic shortage of social and affordable housing has forced many to seek alternative, often informal arrangements, ranging from share accommodation, often in severely overcrowded conditions, through to living in dwellings which may contravene planning or building regulations. This report explores these informal, sometimes illegal, arrangements which are emerging in parts of Sydney in response to unmet housing needs.
Those at the frontline in local government and advocacy have unique insights into the nature and scale of Sydney’s ‘hidden’ housing problems which are not easily captured in standard housing supply and residential tenancy data. This scoping study was developed in collaboration with Fairfield City Council, Waverley Council and the Tenants Union of NSW and funded by the University of Sydney’s Policy Lab. It draws from qualitative data collected through interviews and focus groups with building inspectors, planners and housing advocates to cast light on the production and occupation of informal housing in Sydney.