Why its important to determine your tenancy status if an issue arises

Date: Oct 01, 2013
Document Type: Newsletter

In many Australian capital cities, the high cost of living means that many people have to share the costs of renting with others. Therefore, it’s essential that you’re aware of your tenancy status in the event that if any issues arise, you’ll have an understanding of the rights and remedies available whether you’re a boarder, lodger, sub-tenant, or co-tenant.  

Determining your tenancy status

Trying to determine who is a boarder or lodger is somewhat a legal grey area. Broadly speaking, borders and lodgers receive meals from a landlord – with the landlord also retaining a position of authority over the property.  

Meanwhile, a sub-tenant is classified as someone who lives with a head-tenant – the person whose name is on the lease – with permission from the landlord. A sub-tenant has to pay rent to the head-tenant. Furthermore, the landlord exercises no legal control over a sub-tenant, and it is the head-tenant who is seen to be the landlord in such a scenario.

To complicate matters further, if a head-tenant sublets the property without permission from the landlord, the action may be a breach of the tenancy agreement and the landlord can potentially terminate the lease. However, if a tenant takes in a boarder or lodger, they don’t require the permission from the landlord as long as the number of people staying on the property does not exceed the maximum number outlined in the tenancy agreement.

What rights are available to you in a shared household?

Having an awareness of your status in a shared household is important when trying to understand your rights and responsibilities. For instance, if you are a co-tenant, this means that your name is on the lease with another person and you cannot be forced to leave by the other tenant. In contrast, if you’re a sub-tenant, the head-tenant can evict you but must still follow the proper legal procedures required from a landlord under the law. On the other hand, if you are a boarder or lodger, the only right you have is one of reasonable notice when being evicted.

We began the article with the question: what type of tenant am I? So naturally, we should end the piece with some sort of answer. The short answer is that the law is unfortunately murky when it comes to shared housing, and there are no actual laws that clearly define what is a sub-tenant, boarder or lodger. The best course of action that you can take if you are experiencing a problem is to contact a lawyer for any difficulties you may be experiencing.

In many Australian capital cities, the high cost of living means that many people have to share the costs of renting with others. Therefore, it’s essential that you’re aware of your tenancy status in the event that if any issues arise, you’ll have an understanding of the rights and remedies available whether you’re a boarder, lodger, sub-tenant, or co-tenant.  

Determining your tenancy status

Trying to determine who is a boarder or lodger is somewhat a legal grey area. Broadly speaking, borders and lodgers receive meals from a landlord – with the landlord also retaining a position of authority over the property.  

Meanwhile, a sub-tenant is classified as someone who lives with a head-tenant – the person whose name is on the lease – with permission from the landlord. A sub-tenant has to pay rent to the head-tenant. Furthermore, the landlord exercises no legal control over a sub-tenant, and it is the head-tenant who is seen to be the landlord in such a scenario.

To complicate matters further, if a head-tenant sublets the property without permission from the landlord, the action may be a breach of the tenancy agreement and the landlord can potentially terminate the lease. However, if a tenant takes in a boarder or lodger, they don’t require the permission from the landlord as long as the number of people staying on the property does not exceed the maximum number outlined in the tenancy agreement.

What rights are available to you in a shared household?

Having an awareness of your status in a shared household is important when trying to understand your rights and responsibilities. For instance, if you are a co-tenant, this means that your name is on the lease with another person and you cannot be forced to leave by the other tenant. In contrast, if you’re a sub-tenant, the head-tenant can evict you but must still follow the proper legal procedures required from a landlord under the law. On the other hand, if you are a boarder or lodger, the only right you have is one of reasonable notice when being evicted.

We began the article with the question: what type of tenant am I? So naturally, we should end the piece with some sort of answer. The short answer is that the law is unfortunately murky when it comes to shared housing, and there are no actual laws that clearly define what is a sub-tenant, boarder or lodger. The best course of action that you can take if you are experiencing a problem is to contact a lawyer for any difficulties you may be experiencing.

Compulsory Land Acquisition
Date: Aug 03, 2010
Consideration in contract law
Date: Jun 10, 2015
Contract: the rules of the game
Date: Jun 15, 2015
Getting it straight with strata
Date: Mar 02, 2011
I don't want to get gazumped
Date: Oct 07, 2010
Insurance is so confusing
Date: Apr 03, 2010
Just what is strata title?
Date: Aug 03, 2009
Leasing a Commercial Property
Date: Nov 01, 2009
Leasing a Shop
Date: Oct 03, 2009
Let the lender beware
Date: May 02, 2009
Mortgage Stress
Date: Apr 02, 2009
PPSA Protection and Perfection
Date: May 25, 2015
Property Lines, Fences & Trees
Date: Jan 02, 2010
Renting a home
Date: Sep 02, 2009
Requisitions on Title
Date: Sep 10, 2011
Security for Costs
Date: Aug 08, 2010
Trusts and family law disputes
Date: Jul 06, 2015
What Exactly is Conveyancing?
Date: Jul 02, 2009
What is a mortgage?
Date: Dec 02, 2009
What is property?
Date: Feb 02, 2010
What on earth is an easement
Date: Jun 02, 2009
When should I make a will?
Date: Mar 01, 2008
Back to Publication List