Residency in A Rooming House
A rooming house resident is a person who rents a room in a rooming house as their only or main residence. A resident does not need to have a tenancy agreement to live in a rooming house.
A rooming house is a building where:
1. one or more rooms is available for rent, and
2. the total number of people who may occupy those rooms is four or more.
The Minister for Housing can also declare a property as a rooming house.
Also, in most rooming houses:
1. residents share bathrooms, kitchens, laundries and other common areas
2. the owner and their family do not generally live on the premises, and
3. separate rental agreements may exist for different residents.
1. Rooming House Tenancy Agreement
A Rooming House Tenancy Agreementis a legal contract between tenants and landlords. A lease outlines:
1.the amount of rent and how it is to be paid
2. the length and type of tenancy
3. the amount of bond required
4. other conditions and rules.
There are generally two types of leases:
1. Fixed term – a fixed-term agreement is for a set period of time, usually six or 12 months. After a fixed-term lease expires, a tenant can sign a new fixed-term lease or roll automatically onto a periodic lease.
2. Periodic lease – a tenant will usually roll over to a periodic lease when their fixed-term lease ends. In a periodic lease, the tenant does not sign a new agreement, but must still follow the rules set out in the original lease.
By law, every new resident a rooming house will receive a copy of :
1. Rooming houses: a guide for residents and operators (Click on the image to download)
2. The house rules
3. Rights and duties of a rooming house resident poster (Click on the image to download)
2. Residential Tenancies Bond
The Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA) holds all Victorian residential tenancy bonds, including those on rented premises, long-term caravans, rooming houses and sites under site agreements.
The RTBA holds bonds in trust for landlords/agents and tenants, or owners and residents, giving all parties equal say on how bonds should be repaid when a rental agreement ends.
Bonds are repaid either as agreed by the landlord/agent or tenant, or owner or resident. If there is a dispute about how repayment is to be divided, an application may be made to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal to decide the matter.
For more information, please visit RTBA Online (Click on the image) or Consumer Affairs Victoria(Click on the image)
3. Condition Report
When a bond is paid, a landlord or owner must prepare a condition report for the tenant or resident, which notes the general condition of the property, room or caravan, including fittings and fixtures.
The condition report is important because it can be used as evidence if there is a dispute about who should pay for cleaning, damage or replacement of missing items.
Tenants and landlords, or residents and owners, should agree on the contents of the Condition report before signing it.
(Click on the image to download a Condition Report)
4. Rent Arrears
If a tenant or resident does not pay their rent by the due date, they are considered to be ‘in arrears’.
If tenants of rooming houses become 7 days or more in arrears, they can be issued with the following notices:
Notice to vacate to resident/s of a rooming house(Click on the image to download)
(Any notice to vacate must be given by hand or by registered post).
5. Landlord or Owner entry to the property
The landlord (or their agent) may enter at a date and time agreed to with the tenant. However, this agreement cannot be made more than seven days before entry.
The landlord can enter if they give the tenant 24 hours’ written notice, in order to:
1. carry out duties listed in the tenancy agreement or relevant laws
2. value the property
3. show prospective buyers or financial lenders through the premises
4. show prospective tenants through the premises (within 14 days of a current lease termination date)
5. verify a reasonable belief that the tenant has not met their duties as a tenant
6. make one general inspection in any six-month period, but not within the first three months of the tenancy.
The notice must be hand delivered between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm or posted (allowing extra time for postal delivery).
The landlord may enter between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm on any day, but not on public holidays. If the tenant is home, they must let the landlord in, providing the appropriate notice has been given or agreement reached.
The landlord can enter if the resident is not at home, providing that suitable written notice has been given. However, it is recommended that a time is agreed when the tenant is at home for a landlord visit; this will help avoid possible disputes.
Whether entering at an agreed time, or after 24 hours’ notice, the landlord cannot:
1. enter in an unreasonable way
2. stay any longer than necessary to do what is required, unless it is with the tenant’s permission.
6. Ending a lease or residency
Tenants can end a fixed-term lease before the end date by mutual agreement with the landlord. Agreements should be in writing. Otherwise, if a tenant wants to vacate, they must give the landlord written notice.
Ending a lease before the lease end date:
You and your landlord can agree to end an agreement early. It is important to put this agreement in writing.
This written notice should include any agreed costs, terms and conditions, and the date the lease is to end.
If you have a fixed-term lease but need to end it early, you should give written notice as soon as possible. Breaking a lease may require you to pay compensation to your landlord or owner.
Tenants, residents, landlords and owners can apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal to reduce the period of the tenancy agreement on the basis of severe hardship.
Ending a periodic lease or fixed term lease when fix term lease ends
Rooming house residents can end an arrangement by mutual agreement with the owner. Agreements should be in writing. Otherwise, if a resident wants to vacate, they must give the owner written notice.
The written notice of intention to vacate must:
1. be sent to the owner by post (preferably registered post) or delivered by hand
2. give a specific reason or state that no reason is given
3. be signed by the resident (or his/her representative)
4. allow the correct amount of time to give the notice (minimum two days, preferably 14 days)
5. give the date for the resident to leave.
If you do not give notice:
If you do not give notice or want to end an arrangement earlier than the required notice, you may be liable for rent until the relevant notice period expires or a new tenant moves in (whichever is earlier).
In cases of severe hardship, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal may also end a fixed-term tenancy early.
For more information, please visit Consumer Affairs Victoria or RAAV(Click on the image to download) .