Rabu, 09 Mei 2012

A big day for marginal renters

All in a days work...

Woke up this morning, reached for the smart-phone to check the facebook newsfeed (as you do...)

Saw this:

Looked over the article. How interesting...

Got to work. Tweeted:

... to general applause.

Was hoping to make it along to the announcement, but by the time we got through to the Minister's office, it had already been done. You'd think they'd have liked a few extra happy faces in the crowd.

Later, the Minister sent through the media release. It says things like:

Minister for Disability Services, Andrew Constance, said the reforms will be included in a Draft Exposure Bill that will be provided to key stakeholders for feedback, before legislation is introduced to Parliament later this year.

"The NSW Liberals & Nationals are determined to put the appropriate legislation in place to protect and uphold the rights of vulnerable residents, whether they are people with a disability, students, or those on low incomes."

Proposed changes include:

- The introduction of a registration system for NSW boarding houses
- Occupancy rights for residents
- Standards for boarding houses
- Increased penalties for non-compliance with the regulations
- Increased powers of entry

Under the current laws, unscrupulous operators face fines of up to $500, which provide insufficient disincentives for operators who mistreat or neglect vulnerable residents.

"These penalties will dramatically increase with fines of $11,000 for individual operators or $22,000 for corporations if they breach the regulations," Mr Constance said.

Minister for Fair Trading Anthony Roberts said a registration system will be put in place and a website developed containing information on occupancy rights and standards for operators.

"There are currently no occupancy rights for residents living in boarding houses, such as the right to live in clean premises and be given notice of eviction, nor are there clear responsibilities for operators or residents on how the property should be maintained," Mr Roberts said.

"Our reforms will address these areas. The introduction of a registration system for NSW boarding houses will ensure vulnerable people are no longer living in unlicensed facilities where they have no rights.

The Tenants' Union has welcomed these proposals, and we look forward to seeing the details. They've been a long time coming... Check out our media release for more comments from the TU.

All in a days work...

(Actually, for some background on the many years of work that the Tenants' Union of NSW, Tenants' Advice and Advocacy Services, and many other advocacy groups have been doing on this issue, visit the Tenants Union's website, and have a look at some of our old Brown Couch posts).