Rooming houses are residential properties where rooms are let to three or more people. As the proprietor, you may also live at the property or may visit it regularly, and have access to all common areas without having to give notice to the residents.
The Residential Tenancies Act1995 is the governing legislation for rooming houses. Failure to comply with this legislation can lead to a fine being imposed.
A rooming house agreement doesn't have to be written, it can be verbal or just implied, but a written agreement will give you greater legal protection if anything goes wrong.
A written rooming house agreement must be:
The rooming house agreement should include the amount a resident will be charged for any services or utilities provided - eg electricity, meals, telephone. It also needs to explain how these charges have been calculated.
The rooming house agreement generally states that the resident must:
You are responsible for organising the documentation, including the rooming house agreement, paying any costs associated with this and giving the resident copies.
The house rules must be in writing. Their main purpose is to ensure the health and safety of people and property. They cannot contradict the Residential Tenancies Act 1995.
A copy of these rules should be:
House rules can include conditions about:
House rules should be reasonable. If you change or create new house rules you must give residents at least seven days written notice of the changes before they can take effect.
If your resident abandons (vacates) their room, their rooming house agreement with you is terminated.
You can end a periodic agreement by giving the resident four weeks' written notice. Residents with a periodic agreement who choose to leave must give you one day's notice.
If a resident is in rent arrears they must be behind by at least two weeks before you can give them two days written notice to either pay the arrears in full or the agreement will be terminated and they will have to leave.
You can give written notice that an agreement ends immediately or on a date you
If any other conditions or house rules have been broken you can give the resident seven days' written notice that their agreement will end and they will have to move out.
All termination notices must be on the form provided by Consumer and Business Services (CBS).
If a resident refuses to leave after receiving written notice to do so you can:
If a resident has moved out and has left some belongings at the property you must keep all property, including personal documents safe for 14 days before you can dispose of them. Perishable foodstuffs can be disposed of immediately.
You must not take or dispose of a resident's property because they owe you rent or other payments.
If you are having a problem with a resident CBS can provide advice, information and can act as an independent third party to help you resolve the problem.
Community Mediation Services can provide free and independent mediation services to help you and the resident to come to a mutually acceptable solution.
You can make a request for help from CBS to negotiate and resolve the dispute by lodging a request for assistance. This is not an application to the Residential Tenancies Tribunal.
For an alternative version of a document on this page contact CBS tenancies branch.
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