The poor conditions and human rights violations in licensed boarding houses in NSW have previously been identified by the NSW Ombudsman. Following years of inactivity and policy failure in respect of boarding house regulation, HPLS welcomes the commitment to reform of this sector, which provides vital accommodation services to some of the most vulnerable people in our community.
HPLS submits that the previous concerns raised in relation to the standards and conditions of licensed and unlicensed boarding houses in NSW, highlights the need to provide legislative protections for the human rights and individual dignity of residents in these boarding houses. These residents are often the most vulnerable people in the community, and include substantial numbers of people who are homeless or are in housing crisis and facing the prospect of sleeping rough, people who have physical and intellectual disability, and people who suffer from mental illness. HPLS submits that the Boarding Houses Bill 2012 provides an opportunity to provide legislative recognition of the human rights of these vulnerable members of the community when accessing boarding house accommodation, and to establish a regulatory framework for all boarding houses in New South Wales which is underpinned by human rights principles.