Boarding

Boarding is agreeing to live in part of a property owned by someone else.  Boarding premises are different to renting – you’ll have your own lockable bedroom, access to a bathroom and either access to a kitchen or prepared meals. There may be other boarders there too.

You will enter into a written occupancy or boarding agreement with the person you are boarding with – this agreement doesn’t have to be in writing, but it is best if it is. If the occupancy or boarding agreement is in writing, it should contain:

  • the names of the parties;
  • the period for which you will be boarding;
  • a list of amenities or facilities that will be provided;
  • the amount of board payable; and
  • any other terms and conditions surrounding your stay.

You should keep a copy of the signed occupancy or boarding agreement for your records.

You may also be given a copy of the house rules – make sure you read through the house rules, as breaking these rules may lead to serious consequences such as being evicted.

The person you are boarding with may also provide you with an itemised receipt for your board which must detail any extra costs such as meals (which must be provided at set times each day) if they are included.

The benefit of boarding is that you are not tied into a lease and that, depending on your agreement with the owner, you may only have to provide a short period of notice that you intend to leave.

Some of the disadvantages of boarding are that you cannot control who is able to visit or reside at the property (you do not have ‘exclusive possession’), and that the owner may only have to give you a short period of notice to leave.

Differences between states

Northern Territory

You can find more information about boarding on the NT Consumer Affairs website, or you can call them on 1800 019 319.

You can contact the Tenants Advice Service, though the Darwin Community Legal Service for more information about boarding and the law by calling 1800 812 953. You can also visit the Tenants Advice Service website to access fact sheets.

ACT

If you have any problems or queries concerning boarding, you can contact Tenants’ Advice Service, provided by the Tenants’ Union ACT on 02 62472011.

Western Australia

Boarders are not covered by Western Australia’s Residential Tenancies Act.

If you have any problems or queries concerning boarding, you can contact the following:

NSW

If you have any problems or queries concerning boarding, you can go to the Tenants NSW website or contact NSW Fair Trading on 13 32 20.

Victoria

For information about boarding or what to do if things go wrong, you can contact the Tenants Union of Victoria, Consumer Affairs Victoria, the Victoria Civil and Administrative Tribunal, or any of these services suggested by the Victorian Government.

South Australia

If three or more boarders are living at the property it becomes a “rooming house” – the Government of South Australia website has more information on rooming houses.

Tasmania

If you have any problems or queries regarding boarding you can contact Consumer Affairs and Trading through their website or by phone on 1300 654 499.

FYI – In Tasmania, these rules do not apply to boarding premises that are mainly in use for university students or TAFE students.

Queensland

In Queensland, boarding style accommodation is governed by the Residential Services (Accreditation) Act 2002 (Qld) (RSAA). However, not all accommodation is captured under the RSAA. Some accommodation excluded from the RSSA include:

  • student accommodation;
  • holiday accommodation;
  • retirement villages; and
  • accommodation provided by your company.

Boarders generally are not protected by the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act. However if you have paid a bond, you will be covered by the bond provisions of the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act.

If you have any queries or concerns regarding boarding in Queensland, please contact the Residential Services Unit on 07 3008 5824, or send them an email.