As the end of the year approaches, we look at boarding house residents' rights in relation to money and enjoyment.
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As the end of the year approaches, money and enjoyment are two wishes that we think of, but what about the rights of boarding house residents in those areas?


A dispute about finances is the most likely reason why boarding house residents lodge a complaint with the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT). Above all, boarding house residents should keep receipts.
  • Residents should pay no more than two weeks rent as a security deposit.
  • The two week security deposit includes any money charged as a key deposit.
  • If accommodation is found through a real estate agent, the deposit usually stays with the agent. If not, the security deposit is paid to the owner or manager of the boarding house.
  • The security deposit should be returned to the resident within 14 days of leaving the boarding house.
  • A resident cannot be fined, nor should demands be made for other penalties, for breaching an occupancy agreement or the rules of the boarding house.
  • A charge can be made for utilities – electricity, gas, water – as long as it was included in the agreement when a resident first moved in and it is based on a reasonable measure of the use of the utility, and the proprietor’s costs.


  • Residents have the right to live in premises that are reasonably clean, in a reasonable state of repair and that are reasonably secure.
  • Residents are entitled to quiet enjoyment of their premises. The common areas of the house are for all to use.
More detailed information on these rights and other rights for boarding house residents can be found on our Boarding Houses Factsheet.

Residents’ advice line

Over the Christmas New Year period, the TU advice line will be open to help any boarding house resident needing assistance with tenancy and occupancy rights.
Call 1800 251 101 or 8117 3750
The advice line will operate from Monday 22 December 2014 to Friday 2 January 2015. Outside of those hours, your local Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service can be found at

Thank you for your support in 2014. Onboard will be back in early 2015.
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You're receiving this email because you are on the Tenants' Union Boarding Houses Project Email Bulletin list. We send out regular updates to educate community workers about boarding houses and the rights of residents.

For tenancy advice, contact your local Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service. See

Legal information in this email is intended as a guide to the law and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice. It applies to people who live in or are affected by, the law as it applies in New South Wales, Australia.

Tenants' Union of NSW, Suite 201, 55 Holt St, Surry Hills, 2010, NSW. (02) 8117 3700

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