Communtity Law Manual | Tenancy & housing | Your use of your room and the shared facilities

Boarding houses: Renting a room

Your use of your room and the shared facilities

Your rights to use and access your room and the shared facilities

Residential Tenancies Act 1986, ss 66H, 66I

When you move into a boarding house, the landlord must make sure that your room is clean and that no-one else is using it (unless you’ve rented it as a shared room). While you’re living there, the landlord mustn’t interfere with your reasonable peace, privacy and comfort, and they mustn’t unnecessarily interrupt the supply of electricity, water and gas. The boarding house as a whole has to be reasonably clean, secure and in reasonable repair, and it has to meet building and health and safety requirements.

Residential Tenancies Act 1986, ss 66G, 66I-66K, 66T

You must have access at all times to your room and to toilet and bathroom facilities, and you must have access at all reasonable hours to the other facilities in the boarding house, like kitchens and laundries. The landlord must tell you and the other tenants immediately if the locks are changed.

Looking after your room

Residential Tenancies Act 1986, ss 66G, 66I-66M, 66T

While you’re staying at the boarding house, you must keep your room reasonably clean and tidy, follow the house rules, and not disturb any of the other tenants. You can’t keep a pet without the landlord’s permission. You must tell the landlord as soon as possible about any damage or if repairs are needed, and you have to pay for any damage that you or your visitors cause. At the end of the tenancy you have to take all your things with you and leave your room in a reasonably clean and tidy state.

When can the landlord come into my room?

Residential Tenancies Act 1986, ss 66Q-66S

Your landlord can’t come into your room whenever they feel like it. They have to give you 24 hours’ advance notice (written or verbal), and they can only come in between 8 am and 6 pm. They can also only come in for certain reasons, including:

  • to inspect your room (but only if they haven’t done this in the last four weeks)
  • to show your room to a potential tenant or buyer, or to people like valuers and real estate agents
  • if they have a good reason to think you’re breaching your tenancy agreement
  • to check any work that you’re meant to have done on the room.

They don’t need to give you advance notice if you’ve given them permission to come in, or if it’s an emergency, or if they’re providing you with services the two of you have agreed on (like doing your laundry).

When they come in, they have to do it in a reasonable way, including knocking and waiting for you to open the door. They can stay in your room only for as long as they need to, and they can’t interfere unnecessarily with your things.

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