Get on top of boarding house rules

Wednesday 11 March 2020

There’s a fair bit of uncertainty around boarding houses and Tenancy Services is warning landlords they need to know the law around this area.

By The Landlord

In fact, many landlords of rental properties which qualify as boarding houses may not even be aware they are operating a boarding house.

Rental properties where tenants have individual tenancy agreements to rent single rooms and which also provide shared facilities like a bathroom or kitchen to six people or more are boarding houses.

But some landlords with such properties don’t realise their property qualifies as a boarding house and this is a problem because it means they may not be meeting their legal obligations.

Tenancy Services information and education manager Jennifer Sykes says boarding house landlords have a number of requirements under the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), and it is important they are aware of them.

“For example, some landlords who do not realise they are operating a boarding house under the law may not be aware they also have to meet the first compliance date for the healthy homes standards, which is 1 July 2021 for boarding houses.”

The healthy homes standards became law last year, and set minimum requirements for heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture ingress and drainage, and draught stopping.

Sykes says boarding houses that are not compliant with the healthy homes standards by 1 July next year may be subject to a financial penalty.

“While boarding house tenancies and standard tenancies share a lot of the same requirements under the RTA, some things apply only to boarding houses and it’s important that boarding house landlords know the differences.

“Boarding houses also need to comply with new requirements as part of their tenancy agreements, including a statement of their level of compliance with the healthy homes standards in any new, varied or renewed tenancy agreement, from 1 July 2020.

In addition to this statement, it is also a requirement for all landlords to include an insurance statement with every new tenancy agreement.”

Landlords who are operating a rental property with six tenants or more with shared facilities who are uncertain if they are operating a boarding house under the law should visit for more information, Sykes recommends.

“The website provides information about the roles and responsibilities required when operating a boarding house, as well as templates for required statements and a boarding house agreement.

“We also suggest they subscribe to Tenancy Services’ electronic updates to keep up to date with legislation changes that will affect them. Also, specific information about the healthy homes standards is available at”

Read more:

It’s the law: Healthy Homes standards 

Getting heating right 

Comments from our readers

On 11 March 2020 at 11:42 am manu said:
Why a boarding house is considered from 6 people and not less? You could have 2 tenants in the property renting separate rooms .

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