Tenants' Union welcomes housing boost
Media release, 16 November 2010
The Tenants’ Union of NSW has welcomed the NSW State Government’s boost in financial assistance for boarding houses.
The expansion of the Boarding House Financial Assistance Program was announced on Friday by the Housing Minister, Mr Frank Terenzini.
The Tenants’ Union’s senior policy officer, Chris Martin, said the boarding house sector was a small but important part of the State’s housing system and it was vital that it was supported.
‘Boarding houses provide a valuable service to people who find themselves in urgent need of accessible, relatively affordable temporary accommodation’, said Mr Martin. ‘And for some low-income renters, the stay becomes permanent – they come to call their boarding house home.’
‘To date the Program has provided useful funding for fire safety upgrades in boarding houses. We’re pleased the Program is being expanded.’
Mr Martin urged the Government to move ahead with related boarding house reforms, including law reform for boarding house residents and landlords.
‘Boarding house residents are excluded from mainstream renting laws, and instead are covered by nineteenth century-style common law contracts’, said Mr Martin. ‘These contracts often make no provision for basic things like repairs or receipts. Many disputes could be avoided if legal rights and obligations in boarding houses were clearer and fairer.’
Mr Martin said the Government should legislate to provide for some basic ‘occupancy principles’ for boarding house residents and other marginal renters. Occupancy principles legislation is more flexible than mainstream tenancies legislation and has been successfully implemented in the ACT.