Boarding house changes are pandering to elitists: Chris Johnson

Boarding house changes are pandering to elitists: Chris Johnson
Boarding house changes are pandering to elitists: Chris Johnson


Recent proposed changes to Boarding House legislation in NSW is pandering to elitists.

The NSW Department of Planning has issued a draft proposal to change the Affordable Rental Housing State Environmental Planning Policy 2009 in relation to the number of rooms permitted in boarding houses in R2 zones.

Boarding houses are an important source of affordable rental accommodation but it seems some communities would prefer them to be Not In My Backyard (NIMBY) and have put pressure on the government to minimise their impact.

The result is a draft proposal to limit the size of a new Boarding House to only 12 rooms in R2 areas.

If these changes are implemented they will make boarding houses unfeasible in many areas of Sydney where more affordable housing is desperately needed.

This proposal follows changes introduced in June 2018 to require 0.5 car spaces per room up from 0.2 spaces.

These additional onerous requirements greatly affect the feasibility of boarding house development resulting in a diminished supply of this type of affordable accommodation.

There is a clear shift in Sydney to rental housing as opposed to home ownership and this means governments must support Build to Rent models for long term rental accommodation as well as the more affordable new generation boarding houses.

The Urban Taskforce is concerned that the erosion of support for boarding houses that the current NSW Government is driving is making the feasibility of delivering this important contribution to housing affordability unsustainable.

The concerns of communities about this housing type can be handled through quality design so that boarding houses compliment the local character of an area.

We suspect however that the community concerns are more about objecting to the people who live in affordable rental housing than concerns about the buildings.

CHRIS JOHNSON is the Urban Taskforce CEO

Boarding House Urban Taskforce

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