New Boarding Houses research reports, losing my belongings case study, upcoming training and resources.
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New Boarding Houses research

After a disappointing lack of research on boarding houses, two reports have come to my attention.

A 2015 report Rooming Houses Futures: governing for growth, transparency and fairness, published by AHURI, gives an overview of the NSW boarding house market.
Some interesting facts from the report:
  • At the last census, 6,507 were living in boarding houses in NSW
  • Of that number, 80% lived in Sydney
  • 51% lived in inner Sydney and inner southern suburbs.
They are startling numbers and most likely under reported. Of concern is the change to a younger demographic. These younger residents include not only international students and young professionals living in new generation boarding houses, but also include residents in older style traditional boarding houses, usually the preserve of older men.
 
There was good news in the report. Feedback from NGO participants indicates that the Act helps with more residents getting their bond back and helps residents in dispute with proprietors negotiate from a stronger position.

The second report, Boarding Houses Act 2012 Evaluation Report 1 2014, is the first report into the impact of the passing of the Boarding Houses Act 2012 on residents, owners and councils.
 
Using a modified Personal Wellbeing Index questionnaire, the paper gives a broad picture of how boarding house residents see their lives in relation to the norm. Although they rate their wellbeing as above average, residents find that the high cost of housing and lack of access to dental services are two of the major stresses that residents are under.

Losing My Belongings – a case study


Having possessions discarded is the most common complaint that boarding house residents have. A typical story comes from Mary (name changed).
 
Absent from her room for a couple of weeks, Mary gave permission to the manager to enter her room to clean up before she returned to the boarding house. On her return Mary found most of her possessions had been disposed of in a skip and believes the rest of her possessions were sold.
 
How can the Boarding Houses Act help Mary?
 
Under the Boarding Houses Act and the Consumer Claims Act Mary could apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) for compensation for loss of her possessions.
 
Before lodging an application with the Tribunal, Mary’s action should include a call to her local Tenants Advice and Advice Service, where she will be able to get advice and assistance with the application. See tenants.org.au for contact details.

More Bang For Your Bond!

Tenants' bonds generate a lot of money for the NSW State Government. More of that money should be used for the benefit of tenants and boarding house residents, through improved funding for Tenants Advice and Advocacy Services (TAASs).
 
The Tenants' Union, in collaboration with the Network of Tenants' Advice & Advocacy Services is running a campaign to highlight how the interest from tenants' bonds is spent.
 
Please support the Tenants Union campaign by checking out the campaign website and signing the petition.

Training – a date for your diary

Recent research shows that community and neighbourhood centres are the frontline information and support source for the majority of boarding house residents on tenancy matters.
 
How ready are you to help a boarding house resident?
 
Our training session on Wednesday 3rd June 2015 is targeted to build the knowledge and skills base of frontline workers.
 
Please save the date, and look out for more information in our next e-bulletin.

New resource on its way

We are excited to be in the final stages of producing a business-card-sized resource for residents of boarding houses. It will have a 1800 number for them to call for assistance with their tenancy issues. More details in the next e-bulletin.
Do you know anyone else who might be interested in this e-bulletin? Please forward it or send their details to me at margaret_dinicola@clc.net.au

If you have questions or ideas about assisting boarding house residents under the Boarding Houses Act, please give me a call or email.
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You're receiving this email because you are on the Tenants' Union Boarding Houses Project Email Bulletin list. We send out regular updates to educate community workers about boarding houses and the rights of residents.

For tenancy advice, contact your local Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service. See tenants.org.au

Legal information in this email is intended as a guide to the law and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice. It applies to people who live in or are affected by, the law as it applies in New South Wales, Australia.

Tenants' Union of NSW, Suite 201, 55 Holt St, Surry Hills, 2010, NSW. (02) 8117 3700

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