Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Boarding Houses Act – update

A quick update on the partly-commenced Boarding Houses Act 2012.

('Houses', by Kevin Woods)

  • The part that has commenced  – the Boarding Houses Register – is starting to fill up, and is now presented in searchable format on the NSW Fair Trading website. Proprietors of existing registrable boarding houses must register by 30 June 2013. After that, new proprietors must register within 28 days of commencing operations.
  • Those parts of the Act that have yet to commence – in particular, the parts about occupancy agreements (Part 3) and the revamped regulatory regime for assisted boarding houses (Part 4) – we expect to commence in the next month or so, when the Boarding Houses Regulation 2013 and the standard form of occupancy agreement are good to go. Keep in mind that upon commencement there's another three months before the application of the occupancy principles becomes a term of every occupancy agreement.
  • We were asked recently if councils could use their inspection powers under the Act to investigate whether premises were a registrable boarding house. We've had a look, and we say no: the inspection powers can be exercised only in relation to registrable boarding premises that are on the register, and only for the purpose of determining compliance with requirements imposed by the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and the Local Government Act 1993. Councils investigating whether premises are a registrable boarding house might look for evidence elsewhere: see section 100 for examples of the circumstantial evidence that may be used in proceedings to determine whether premises are a registrable boarding house.
  • Any other questions? Try the TU's Tenants' Rights Manual, which now has a new chapter on boarding houses – read it online at the State Library.

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