On 1 August 2015 a range of minimum standards for rental premises, which includes boarding premises, commenced. There are a range of changes in the rights and obligations of property owners and tenants. A Fact Sheet - Minimum Standards for Rental Premises 201 (pdf, 160.0 KB) is available.
What are boarding premises?
You are renting a boarding premise if:
- you have agreed with the owner to rent a bedroom in a property (and other rooms such as an en-suite);
- you share facilities such as a kitchen or bathroom with other tenants;
- meals and linen may also be supplied.
Boarding premises can be a normal house, hotel or hostel and are subject to special rules - for example, tenants do not have to pay a bond when they move in. Boarding premise operators must comply with the Residential Tenancy Act 1997.
What is a share house?
- A share house is when either one person (the head tenant) rents a property and sub-lets rooms to one or more people; or
- Where multiple tenants jointly rent a property and sign a tenancy agreement.
- The room you rent and how much rent you pay is agreed with the other tenant/s.
What if the owner lives on site?
If the owner lives on the premises and rents only one or two rooms it isn't a boarding premise or share house and the Residential Tenancy Act 1997 does not apply.
Tenancy agreements and rent
- Both the tenant and the owner should sign and date the tenancy agreement.
- The property owner/agent must provide the tenant with a separately itemised receipt for payments of rent and other charges.
Access, security and maintenance
- A tenant must be allowed to use the leased room and toilet facilities at all times.
- A tenant must have reasonable use of the bathroom/shower, common room and other facilities.
- A tenant should be disturbed as little as possible when repairs and renovations are being done.
- A tenant's room should be secure (working locks).
- The premises should be kept in good repair. This includes rooms, shared facilities and furniture.
- A tenant must be given 24 hours notice of monthly inspections if the owner needs to enter a tenant's room.
- Alternative facilities should be provided if work is being done.
- The property owner/agent should be contactable by tenants at any time by telephone or other means.
Statement of key terms
- The Statement of Key Terms sets out the basic rights and responsibilities of the property owner/agent and the tenant.
- The tenant should be given a copy of the Statement of Key Terms and a copy of the House Rules at the beginning of the lease.
- The Statement of Key Terms should include:
- the amount of rent to be paid;
- the amount to be paid for any other services;
- when the rent is to be paid;
- the address of the boarding premises;
- the length of the lease agreement;
- the name of the tenant;
- the name of the property owner/agent.
- The property owner/agent must keep a copy of the signed Statement of Key Terms for at least six months after the lease ends.
- The House Rules should be displayed where they can be easily seen by all tenants and must be available to tenants on demand.
- Tenants should be informed of any changes to the House Rules.
- If meals are provided (as part of the Statement of Key Terms) they should be provided within the following times:
- Breakfast from 6am - 9am
- Lunch from 12 midday - 2pm
- Dinner from 5pm - 8pm
Refer information on House Rules for further detail on what the rules must contain.
Complaints and disputes
If a boarding house tenant and a property owner/agent are unable to resolve a complaint or dispute, the Residential Tenancy Commissioner can help both parties to resolve the issue. You can contact us for advice.
If an agreement cannot be resolved, the Commissioner can make the following orders:
- that the property owner/agent or tenant comply with the tenancy agreement;
- that the property owner/agent or tenant comply with a section of the Residential Tenancy Act 1997;
- that a section of a tenancy agreement be changed or removed;
- that an increase in the rent is unreasonable and cannot be more than a particular amount;
- that the tenant be refunded the cost of fixing something when the property owner/agent has not carried out the repair and the tenant has organised the repair themselves;
- that an owner carry out any reasonable repairs that the tenant has not caused;
- that the premises has been abandoned;
- allow for the sale of abandoned goods with a value of $300 or more.
Orders are enforced by a Magistrate. This means you can be fined up to $6000 for not complying with an order.