Report: Boarding Houses Education Project Evaluation


This report completes the two-year Boarding Houses Education Project (The Project) managed by the Tenants’ Union of NSW (TU).

The Project commenced in April 2014 with the aim to “develop and implement an education program to ensure that stakeholders, including residents of boarding houses are aware of the new law in NSW and its application and have the skills to monitor and take action under the relevant provisions of the Boarding Houses Act
” (the Act).

The passing of the Act was the first time that occupancy rights between an owner  and resident became regulated. As the boarding houses legislation differed considerably from that of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 (NSW), it was identified that a community education program on the new law needed to be implemented. 

The Project focussed on the inner west suburbs of Sydney, and the Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the Cities of Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong. Between them, these four areas contain more than 50% of the registered general boarding houses in NSW.

To achieve the aims of the Project a number of resources were developed, ranging from a hotline service, business card and brochure for residents through to a factsheet, posters, e-bulletin, newsletter and training for those in the community services sector working with boarding house residents.

Over the course of the Project, it became clear that a significant amount of resource development and capacity building would need to be undertaken in order to meet the overall aims of the funded Project.

During the past two years, an action reflection approach has been applied to understand how best to design and implement an education program for boarding house residents and other 

This has resulted in this Project now being understood as the necessary first phase in a two-phase project. The work that has been undertaken over the past two years has comprised a resource and capacity-building phase. It is recommended that the next phase of the project include policy development both prior to and following a review of the Act and continuing education work as resources allows.

This report is set out in four sections:

  • The first sets out the history of boarding houses in NSW.
  • The second introduces and describes the aims of the Project.
  • The third details the Project’s activities and outcomes.
  • The fourth sets out recommendations for the future of the Project.