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General boarding house operators may be operating an assisted boarding house if they provide boarding accommodation for 2 or more “persons with additional needs” as set out in the Boarding House Act 2012.

The operator needs to:

  • register the boarding house with NSW Fair Trading, and
  • contact the Department of FACS Boarding Houses Team, to determine whether the boarding house needs to be authorised as an assisted boarding house.

Operators and managers of general boarding houses need to be aware of the definition of an assisted boarding house and a “person with additional needs” and register appropriately with NSW Fair Trading. Please see “What is an assisted boarding house?” for the definition of a “person with additional needs”.


Premises that are exempt from the Act, that don’t need to be authorised, include:

  • hotels
  • government-owned or funded accommodation for people with disabilities
  • hospitals
  • nursing homes
  • retirement villages, and
  • accommodation operated by schools or universities.

The FACS Boarding House Compliance Officer may visit the property, talk to the residents about their accommodation and support needs, and talk to managers, caretakers and owners.

Possible Actions

FACS can take a number of actions after these initial inquiries:

  • No action – if FACS finds that the residents do not need additional support or that the premises are exempt from the Act no further action may be necessary.
  • Further assessment – where resident support needs are not clear, FACS may arrange further assessments.
  • Authorisation – FACS will provide advice to operators on the requirements for authorisation as an assisted boarding house to provide accommodation and services to people with additional needs.
  • Legal action – as a last resort, if sufficient evidence exists that the proprietor or manager knowingly continues to operate an assisted boarding house without authorisation against FACS’s advice, FACS may take legal action including prosecution.

You should seek advice from a FACS Boarding House Compliance Officer before taking any action with regard to the tenancy of existing residents if you are concerned they are a resident with additional needs.

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