Difference between a boarder, lodger and tenant

How do I know if I am a boarder or lodger and not a tenant?

Establishing whether you are a tenant or a boarder or a lodger can sometimes be difficult, but the distinction is very important as tenants have far greater legal rights than boarders or lodgers.

You may be a Tenant if:

  • You have keys to all external doors and have exclusive possession of the property
  • The landlord (home owner) does not live on the premises, nor is there an "in-house" agent to represent the interests of the landlord (a live-in manager or caretaker)
  • You provide all your own domestic services (e.g. laundry, cleaning, cooking, shopping etc.)
  • There are no "in-house" rules regulating the way you act in the property (e.g. a curfew, restrictions on visitors, no alcohol etc.) or the house rules are not enforceable or displayed in any conspicuous part of the premises

You may be a Boarder if:

  • You have keys to all doors including your bedroom and have full use of all the common areas but do not have control over them
  • All or some of your domestic services are provided (i.e. laundry, cleaning, cooking etc.)
  • The landlord (home owner) lives on the premises or there is an "in-house" agent to represent the interests of the landlord (a live-in manager or caretaker)
  • There are "house rules" regulating the way you act in the property (e.g. a curfew, restrictions on visitors, no alcohol etc.)

You may be a Lodger if:

  • You have keys to all doors, including your bedroom, and have full use of all common areas but do not have control over them
  • You provided all your own domestic services (e.g. laundry, cleaning, cooking, shopping etc.)
  • The landlord or home owner lives on the premises
  • There are "house rules" regulating the way you act in the property (e.g. a curfew, restrictions on visitors, no alcohol etc.)

For more information relating to Tenancies or Boarders and Lodgers visit the Department of Commerce.

The Northern Suburbs Community Legal Centre information sheets provide useful information as does the Department of Commerce publication 'Boarders and Lodgers, a guide to your rights and responsibilities'.

 

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