MEDIA RELEASE: Govt should investigate acquiring boarding houses and running them as social housing

Newtown Greens MP and Housing spokesperson Jenny Leong has called on the NSW Government to investigate acquiring existing privately owned boarding houses, to bring them up to a liveable standard, and run them as safe, secure, affordable and publicly owned social housing.

“The Government knows full well the conditions in which people in boarding houses are living. They could choose to fix it - and cannot shirk their responsibility,” Ms Leong said.

“Over-crowding and poor living conditions inside boarding houses are a symptom of Sydney’s chronic shortage of social and affordable housing.

“The reason there is such demand for boarding houses in the inner city is because the public housing waitlist is so long, the private rental market is completely unaffordable, and there are vulnerable people who need access to social services and support, who aren’t able to get that support.”

“In January this year, the Government introduced changes that would require new boarding houses to be “affordable” and run by community housing providers for 10 years.

“The government has acknowledged the problem with the current boarding house situation but these requirements do not apply retrospectively. The government should investigate acquiring those properties, and operating them as social housing.

“Private boarding houses are not the solution. The solution is publicly owned and run, or not-for-profit, safe and secure housing for people.”

“One of the biggest problems for boarding house residents - and all private tenants - is that they can be so easily evicted. Most residents are fearful to ask for improvements, even to bring their homes to the most basic of liveable standards, because complaining will often lead to an eviction notice.

“The basic problem is that there’s not enough social and affordable housing. It should be top of the Government’s priority list to build more social housing so there are enough homes,” Ms Leong said.

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