Boarding houses

Places of shared accommodation

Boarding houses and other places of shared accommodation including tourist and visitor accommodation, backpacker accommodation, residential parts of hotels, guest houses, B&B's or the like are required to meet specific health, building and safety requirements.

Approval requirements

Buildings used as a boarding house or other type of shared accommodation must have the required development consent under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and/or a previous approval under the Local Government Act 1993.

Boarding houses and other places of shared accommodation are also required to be registered with Council prior to commencing their use.

Council's Environmental Health and Building officers carry out inspections of these types of premises from time-to-time, to help ensure that relevant health and safety requirements are being met.

Operators of illegal boarding houses and backpacker premises may be placing the residents of the building in an unsafe and unhealthy situation and they face significant potential penalties, Court proceedings and Orders.


All types of places of shared accommodation are required to be registered with Council by downloading and completing the registration form below, and sending it to us.

In most cases, buildings used as a boarding house are also required to be registered with NSW Fair Trading under the Boarding Houses Act 2012.

Council inspections

Local councils have the primary role in approving new boarding houses and inspecting and enforcing safety and accommodation standards in existing boarding houses.

They also have the power to fine operators of unregistered boarding houses or to issue orders for boarding houses to meet certain building, safety and accommodation standards.

Council Officers may carry out an inspection of the premises to check compliance with the relevant building, fire safety and development consent requirements.  After the inspection, Council will send an invoice for the inspection which must be paid within a set period. The fee is set out in the City Planning section of Council's fees and charges.

Boarding Houses Act 2012

A boarding house provides long term residential accommodation for unrelated persons, generally for the periods exceeding 3 months.

The Boarding Houses Act 2012 commenced on 1 January 2013. The Act represents the NSW Government's response to long standing concerns about the condition and operation of some boarding houses and associated risks to health, safety and well being of residents.

Under the Act, the proprietors of certain types of boarding houses (registrable boarding houses) in NSW must be registered with NSW Fair Trading. In most cases Council is required to undertake an initial compliance investigation.

Last Updated: 25 October 2022
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