Report: Snapshot analysis of registrable boarding houses and the roomshare market


Under the Boarding Houses Act 2012 (NSW) (the BH Act), ‘general boarding houses’ are premises that are let in lodgings and provide boarders or lodgers with a principal place of residence (section 4) and that ‘provide beds, for a fee or reward, for use by five or more residents (not counting any residents who are proprietors or managers of the premises or relatives of the proprietors or managers)’ (section 5(2)).

It was intended that the definition would capture the range of unlicensed boarding houses throughout New South Wales, from traditional boarding house establishments to houses and flats let in shared accommodation arrangements (‘roomshare’), which are often targeted to international students.

We sought an indication of the extent to which the BH Act applies to the roomshare market, and the extent to which registrable boarding houses in the room-share market are complying with the requirement of registration under section 9 of the Act. We did this by undertaking a ‘snapshot’ analysis of roomshare advertisements on the Gumtree website <>.