Illegal accommodation poses 'life-threatening risks'

03 July, 2014

The Accommodation Association of Australia is deeply concerned by the recent fire in Alexandria, Sydney, which endangered students staying in illegal accommodation in the area.

The fire, which occurred in an industrial area, unearthed an illegal cluster of so-called student accommodation, with residents living in caravans and old shipping containers.
"Revelations surrounding the incident are just shocking," said the association's Chief Executive Officer, Richard Munro. 
"It's astounding, and downright lucky that the incident hasn't resulted in a far more catastrophic outcome," he said.
"The situation of illegal accommodation is widespread and clearly unsafe, and importantly is not only contained to cheap student accommodation.
"There has been a recent surge in illegal, non-compliant accommodation through the use of new companies using residential homes or other structures as accommodation options. These offer no safety or protection to short stay tourists and breach existing legislation.
"The Association is forming a working group to ensure that adequate laws are strengthened via the 2015 review of the building code.
"We are open to working with federal and state governments and call upon authorities to ensure codes remain relevant and are strengthened where needed for the overall protection of consumers and the community.
"As we've seen today, the risks and consequences of using non-traditional and non-compliant accommodation are real," he said.