Tenancy protections being considered for boarders and lodgers: Real estate bulletin Issue 145 (June 2017)

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All documents issued prior to 1 July 2017 were issued by the former Department of Commerce. Documents listed here are the latest versions available, but may be subject to review. For more information on this document, please contact online@dmirs.wa.gov.au.

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Property industry

14 June 2017

Consumer Protection is seeking community and Industry feedback about whether new laws should be introduced to regulate boarding and lodging in WA.

Boarders and lodgers are currently not covered by the Residential Tenancies Act, although boarding premises accommodating six or more people need to be registered with local government and comply with planning, health and other regulations.

Occupants of boarding houses are often  on low incomes, such as the unemployed, disability pensioners and single parents. However, students, seasonal workers, backpackers, fly in/fly out workers and retirees may also use boarding arrangements, as do those who choose this style of housing because of low establishment costs and flexibility.

Many boarders and lodgers have limited financial resources and their lack of alternative accommodation options can sometimes put them in a vulnerable position, leaving them open to exploitation or eviction without reason or reasonable notice. So we need to consider if there is a need to provide these people with specific legal protection.

But new regulations could come at a cost to the industry and, as boarding houses are an invaluable component of social housing, the impact of possible future regulations has to be carefully assessed.

The consultation paper sets out a range of options for consideration including keeping the status quo, developing an industry code of practice or amending current tenancy laws to include specific provisions to regulate the boarding and lodging industry.

Public consultation on this issue has been designed to gain a full understanding of the issues that may affect the boarding industry and those who choose this type of accommodation. It will help to determine what new laws, if any, are required to protect both the owners of the properties and the people who reside in them.

The Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement is available from the Boarders and lodgers review page

Interested parties are encouraged to lodge a submission or complete a short online survey before the closing date of 30 June 2017. Submissions can also be posted to Consumer Protection or lodged by email.

Consumer Protection
Bulletin
Last updated 15 Jun 2017

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