Sharing a private rental property

When you share a property, your legal rights and obligations will depend on how you are listed on the lease agreement.

Boarding and lodging

A boarder or lodger rents a room from the property owner who may also live there. There isn’t a specific law that covers boarding if less than three people are renting rooms.

Contact the Legal Services Commission if you are having problems where rooms are rented to less than three people.

Renting to three or more separate people in one house

If rooms are rented to three or more people, it becomes a rooming house and more rights and responsibilities apply.

More information about your rights and responsibilities in a rooming house.


A tenant can rent to another person as a sub-tenant, if the landlord gives written permission.

Head tenants

Are legally responsible for the conditions on the lease agreement with their landlord. This includes:

  • paying the rent
  • behaviour of people visiting or living in the property
  • telling the landlord if repairs are needed.


Rent from the head tenant and usually have a separate lease agreement with the head tenant. The sub-tenant has the same rights and responsibilities as when renting from a landlord.

Visit subletting in private rental for more information.

Leaving a sublet property

Head tenant

If a sub-tenant wants to leave, the head tenant still needs to meet all conditions of the lease agreement, including paying all the rent.


If the head tenant leaves they could be breaching their lease agreement. The sub-tenant can ask the landlord about taking over the lease agreement if they want to stay at the property.

Sharing as a co-tenant

Co-tenancies are when more than one person is listed on a lease agreement. Co-tenants have equal responsibility in a tenancy. This means a landlord can claim costs from any or all of the co-tenants for things like overdue rent, cleaning or damage.

The bond is usually divided between co-tenants and lodged with Consumer and Business Services (CBS) as one bond.

If the landlord doesn’t receive all the rent due because a co-tenant doesn’t pay their share, all co-tenants would be breaching the agreement.

Leaving a co-tenancy

If a co-tenant moves out, they continue to be responsible for the lease unless the landlord agrees to release them from the lease. The agreement doesn’t have to be changed, or the bond refunded, because the bond is held until the end of the lease agreement.

The remaining co-tenants may agree to pay the outgoing tenant their share of the bond. Submitting a Change of tenants form (327.2 KB PDF) removes the outgoing tenant’s rights to the bond. This option is not available for Housing SA bond guarantees.

Disputes between co-tenants

For advice and assistance contact:

Guests staying with the tenant

Tenants can have guests stay at their home without having to notify the landlord. There is no limit to how long guests can stay but if someone is staying for a long time, telling the landlord can help stop confusion.

Rent can't be increased because a guest is staying with the tenant.

Dispute resolution

If you haven’t been able to resolve a problem after speaking to the other person, and getting advice from CBS, you may lodge an application with the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) who can make a decision based on the evidence.

Contact CBS Tenancies


Phone: 131 882

GPO Box 965
Adelaide SA 5001

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Page last updated 19 October 2022

Provided by:
Attorney-General's Department
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