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The Boarding Houses Act 2012 requires that all boarding houses are to be registered with NSW Fair Trading, and boarding houses are to be registered as either:

  • "assisted boarding houses" - boarding houses accommodating 2 or more "persons with additional needs" for fee or reward, or
  • "general boarding houses" - boarding houses accommodating 5 or more people for “fee or reward”.

Legislation

Assisted boarding houses are regulated under the Boarding Houses Act 2012 and the Boarding Houses Regulation 2013 by the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS).

The Act replaced the Youth and Community Services Act 1973 and Licensed Residential Centres Regulation 2010 which used to regulate boarding houses in the past.

Assisted boarding houses are privately operated accommodation services that provide supported accommodation to a “person with “additional needs”.

How does the Act define a “person with additional needs”?

A “person with additional needs” is defined as a person:

  • with a permanent disability, mental illness or aged related frailty, and
  • who requires support with their daily care and living tasks, such as showering, preparing meals, or managing their medication.

These conditions are permanent or likely to be permanent.

Importantly, people with a disability (including a psychiatric disability or mental illness) can and do live independently in the community and would not be assessed as having “additional needs,” even when they receive some community support services.

The fact that a resident receives the Disability Support Pension (DSP) from Centrelink does not necessarily mean that they are a “person with additional needs”. A person who is able to manage themselves without support will not be considered a person with additional needs, and it is not the intention of the Act to intervene in the lives of people with a disability who can manage independently.

Provision of disability supports in assisted boarding houses

By July 2018 all residents of ABHs will have either transitioned to the NDIS, if they are eligible or be covered under the Continuity of Supports (CoS) arrangements.

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) eligibility

An assisted boarding house resident will be eligible for the NDIS if they:

  • are under 65 years of age when they make their application
  • are an Australian Citizen or resident or permanent visa holder
  • meet the disability or early intervention requirements.

An assisted boarding house resident will not eligible for the NDIS if they are aged 65 years and over.

Support may be available through the Commonwealth’s My Aged Care system for residents aged 65 years and over who live in an assisted boarding house.

Please see section on NDIS and My Aged Care for more information.

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