Review of the Boarding Houses Act

Submission cover sheet

  • Name of organisation or individual making this submission

    Confidentiality requested

Questions on possible options

  1. Are the objects of the Boarding Houses Act 2012 still valid? Why or why not?

    With out question No! Since the introduction of NDIS there has been an influx of different types of accommodation all with different requirements for entry. Lets all be treated the same. In an ABH in NSW the person wanting to gain entry has to obtain a Screening Tool. This is not required in other accommodation. Once there was the ability to get a screening tool completed in 2 day. Today one is lucky if the screening tool is completed in 2 weeks. Where is the fairness in that. After 2 weeks the potential client has moved on. Because of changes to Australian Unity, I have had complaint from Hospitals that when they contact and ask for a Screen Tool to be done, no one at AU has any idea what the caller wants. The market is too small and we are getting lost.

  2. Are there any types of premises which should be included in or excluded from the Act?

    All types of premises should be treated the same. Same rules for all - whether it State or Federal jurisdiction but only one Please!

  3. Should the exclusion that currently applies to specialist disability accommodation for the purposes of the NDIS be extended to other NDIS service types, such as where residents are in receipt of SIL packages?

    All approved disable accommodation should be required to have the same criteria for accepting new clients.

  4. What are the benefits of the two tier system in NSW? How does it compare with systems in other jurisdictions? Please provide comments.

    None - it is a handicap only experience by a few - ABH proprietors. Why are we governed by 2 jurisdiction? One is enough.

  5. Should anything be changed in, or added to, the list of information provided to the Commissioner?

    Which Commissioner are you referring too? Name change would be good. From Assisted Boarding Houses with anything associated with "Boarding House" has a negative connotation. Why not Assisted Accommodation if we have to have the name change.

  6. Is the information on the public Register sufficient? Why or why not?

    It appears to me to be enough.

  7. What other information could be added to, or removed from, the public Register?

    No comment.

  8. Should the Commissioner have the power to remove the details of a boarding house from the public Register under prescribed circumstances, if it has ceased to be used as a boarding house?


  9. How could we improve the local regulation of boarding houses?

    All boarding house should have the same enforcement. There should be no difference in how different categories of boarding houses and how the regulation are enforced.

  10. Should councils be required to let NSW Fair Trading know of enforcement action against boarding houses, so that it can be recorded in the Register?

    Depending on the severity of the matter. Fire safety - yes. Hole the size of 50 cent coin in the fly screen - no

  11. Are there any provisions of the Standard Occupancy Agreement which should be changed, or are any additional provisions required?


  12. Do you have any comments on the use of either the Standard Occupancy Agreement, or other occupancy agreements?


  13. How aware are you of the occupancy principles?

    I deal with it regularly and am very aware.

  14. Should the occupancy principles be handed separately to each resident when they enter a boarding house or is it enough to include them in the Occupancy Agreement?

    Our residents are handed the Occupancy Agreement when they take up residency. At that stage they sign the document and a copy is kept by Management.

  15. Should the occupancy principles be clearly displayed on a notice board in a common area in the boarding house?

    Not to be made mandatory.

  16. Are the occupancy principles useful and appropriate?


  17. Are the occupancy principles being complied with? If not, why not?


  18. Should any other information be provided to a resident when they move into a boarding house? For example, a fact sheet with information about access to outside services, such as dental, Housing NSW, casework psychologists.

    Should be offered to new residents.

  19. Should any information be provided to operators of boarding houses, for example, a fact sheet outlining their responsibilities?


  20. Are the occupancy principle provisions for termination and notice working or are there any changes which should be made?


  21. Do the suggested notice periods in the Standard Occupancy Agreement constitute “reasonable notice” for terminating an agreement by either a proprietor or a resident? If not, why not?


  22. Should a proprietor be required to provide a reason for terminating an agreement? Why or why not?


  23. Do the current provisions provide sufficient security for residents of boarding houses?


  24. How aware are you of the dispute resolution mechanisms available for house residents and proprietors?

    As an ABH proprietor - very aware. Is well documented in the Occupancy agreement.

  25. How effective and appropriate are the current dispute resolution processes?

    Havent had to use the system.

  26. Do you have any other suggestions to encourage the early resolution of boarding house disputes and to reduce the number of boarding house disputes?


  27. Is the definition of a “person with additional needs” clear? If not, why not?

    Definitely not. Change of name would have a positive effect. Assisted boarding houses has a negative overtone - Assisted Accommodation is more positive ring to it.

  28. Does the definition need to be more detailed?


  29. Should it make reference to the Disability Support Pension as an indicator that the person may have “additional needs”?

    Yes and that NDIS recognises the title too.

  30. Should it be linked to, or make reference to, NDIS eligibility where those NDIS funded supports are to address a disability support need which is permanent, or likely to be permanent (i.e. not a one-off package for equipment or for where the support is time limited and is not intended to be permanent)?


  31. Should it be made identical to the definition in Section 24 of the National Disability Insurance Act 2013 (with a provision to also include people with an age related disability as people aged 65 years and over are not eligible for the NDIS)?

    Yes - there should be no discrimination because of age.

  32. Should the present two-tiered system of “assisted” and “general” boarding houses remain unchanged, and only “assisted boarding houses”, as presently defined, be allowed to accommodate a person with “additional needs” under the legislation? Why or why not?

    What ever the system of boarding houses they should be governed by the same rules if they are accommodating people with disability - on a DSP.

  33. If you think that some general boarding houses should be allowed to accommodate some people with “additional needs” provided certain safeguards are met, what should these standards and safeguards entail?

    As long as the general boarding house complies with the standards set for Assisted boarding house and includes a Screen Tool for entry. One rule for all. Let there be no demarkation between the accommodation.

  34. Should the general boarding house be allowed to accommodate a person with “additional needs” but only if the person has a “package” of supports such as under the NDIS, or provided by NSW Health?

    Yes all should be under the same rules.

  35. If the general boarding house is allowed to accommodate people with “additional needs”, should a condition of that be that they are subject to certain requirements?

    Yes whatever type of assisted accommodation the rules should be the same.

  36. What other safeguards, if any, would be needed, and why?

    There are enough now

  37. What is the impact of specifying that only one person can be the applicant to be the licensee?

    My husband and I are both licensee to our ABH in Waratah. None at this stage

  38. Should corporations and companies be excluded, given that a company can be purchased and sold, in order to prevent a buyer of a company which holds a licence of an assisted boarding house circumvent the requirement to apply for a licence?

    No - there should be no restriction on trade.

  39. Is 28 days adequate time for a licensee to give notice of closure and to allow for alternative accommodation for the residents to be secured?


  40. When a person is asked to answer questions, should the warning be simplified to state that the person must be advised that: (a) they have the right not to answer the question or produce documents only if they believe such answers or documents will be self-incriminating; and (b) if they do choose to say anything, anything they do say may be noted; and (c) if they say anything which is self-incriminating, it may be used against them in future legal or administrative proceedings?

    Yes No yes

  41. Is the current requirement that one person be specified as an “authorised service provider” adequate? Should the definition of “authorised service provider” be broadened to include any employees of a named organisation providing services to an assisted boarding house?


  42. Is the maximum number of 30 residents appropriate? Why or why not?

    Freedom of choice.

  43. Are the current arrangements adequate in meeting privacy needs of residents?

    Yes in our ABH

  44. Where two residents have decided to share a bedroom, should it be enforced that an additional room not less than 7.5 square metres be set aside for the exclusive use of those two residents only?


  45. Is the current requirement of 11 square metres adequate for a room that two residents choose to share?


  46. Should there be a minimum size for the private or quiet room? If yes, what should this be?

    No - the residents can alway use their single room if they want peace and quiet.

  47. Should a minimum size for a communal living space be specified? Why or why not? If yes, should this be based on the number of residents accommodated e.g. a specified number of square metres per resident?

    ABH no - should be large enough or several smaller space per person - no lineage.

  48. Are the current provisions of the Act in relation to young persons adequate? Why or why not?

    Do not accommodate clients under the age of 18 years.

  49. Is the current purpose of the Screening Tool still valid?

    NO, NO, NO. Not easily accessed by clients wanting a SC, misinterpreted by unqualified staff, delays in having one completed - at least 2 weeks. Lets have an even playing field - all who accommodate disable people have the same rule. One rule for all. Sounds fair to me.

  50. If an assisted boarding house resident, actual or proposed, has a package of supports which meets their needs, should he or she be considered eligible to live in an assisted boarding house regardless of their level of need? (For instance, if a person needed daily personal care but he or she had an NDIS package where he or she could purchase those supports, could this be delivered in an assisted boarding house?)


  51. Are the current provisions of the Act adequate in relation to abuse and neglect?


  52. Should there be a clause in the Regulation which states that in a boarding house which is authorised to accommodate a person with additional needs, a receipt for any money received from, or on behalf of that person, must be issued to the person and a copy of all such receipts kept? This includes details of the purpose of the receipt of money or payment.


  53. Should there be a clause in the Regulation which specifically covers financial exploitation? If yes, given many residents of assisted boarding houses have difficulty managing their finances, how would “exploitation” be defined and differentiated from “assistance”?

    yes. All residents should also be encouraged to apply to be under T&G.

  54. If yes, should the clause also cover the management and delivery of the resident’s NDIS Plan?

  55. Are the current provisions of the Act in relation to record keeping adequate?


  56. Should the records required to be kept by an assisted boarding house, and which are therefore available for inspection by a Department of Communities and Justice boarding house enforcement officer, be expanded to include: a) Occupancy Agreements? b) NDIS Plans and NDIS Service Agreements? c) Payments to a service provider under the NDIS Plan? d) Any other record or document?

    a. With clients agreement b. Only with clients agreement c. A decision between the provider and the client d. No.

At our discretion we may remove parts of submissions because of length, content, appropriateness or confidentiality (privacy) reasons.