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A Boarding premises is defined under section 3 of the Residential Tenancy Act 1997 as a room and any other facilities provided with the room where the room is occupied as a principal place of residence and any of the bathroom, toilet or kitchen facilities are shared with other persons. It does not include premises occupied predominantly by tertiary students or students within the meaning of the TAFE Tasmania Act 1997.
Application of the Residential Tenancy Act 1997
There are limitations relating to when the Residential Tenancy Act 1997 will apply to boarding premises in Tasmania.
It will not apply if the boarding premises contains less than three boarding rooms and the owner occupies the same building or where the tenant occupies the building and subleases out rooms as boarding premises.
Part 4A of the Residential Tenancy Act 1997
Part 4A of the Residential Tenancy Act 1997 applies solely to boarding premises in Tasmania. It provides for the following:
• Costs of meals and any other services provided should be specified separately from the rent with any receipts given to show the paid amounts separately.
• There is to be access to a toilet and hand washing facilities at all time and reasonable use of a bathroom at least once a day.
• An owner must not allow more than one person to occupy a room unless they are joint tenants, or unless one of them is a carer for the other.
• If meals are provided they must be provided within the following times:
o Breakfast – 6 am to 9 am.
o Lunch – 12 midday to 2 pm.
o Dinner– 5 pm to 8 pm.
• The owner is required to keep in working order, the bathrooms, toilets and other facilities shared by the tenants.
Statement of Key Terms
Section 48G requires an owner to provide the tenant with a written statement as to the principal terms of the agreement when entering the lease. This is to be signed by both parties and is to set out the basic rights and responsibilities of the parties to the agreement. This will include:
• the names of the owner and tenant,
• the location of the premises,
• the facilities provided,
• the beginning and end dates of the agreement and
• the amount of rent and/or costs associated.
The owner must keep a coy of the signed statement of key terms for at least six months after the agreement ends.
A copy of any house rules should be provided to the tenant when they are given the statement of key terms. Rules are to apply equally to all tenants and are to state:
• the times meals are available if they are provided.
• Any facilities provided for the use of the tenant and any associated costs or restrictions.
• Any rules relating to access to bathroom and shower facilities.
• Any restrictions on visitor access.
• Any restrictions on parking or storage.
• Any restrictions on the consumption of alcohol or smoking.
• A method of changing the house rules
• How the views of tenants are to be considered in the making of house rules.
These house rules should be displayed and easily accessible by all tenants.
The Residential Tenancy Commissioner may investigate complaints made by tenants of a boarding premise and can make an order that either party comply with the Act or with a term of the agreement.
Other provisions of the Residential Tenancy Act 1997 apply to boarding premises but are modified as follows:
• A payment period for a boarding premises must not exceed two weeks.
• A owner must not require a bond from a tenant in a boarding premise.
• The owner is to carry out general repairs in a boarding premises within 7 days.
• A notice to terminate by a tenant must provide at least 2 days notice.
• An owner can enter the boarding premise to carry out an inspection once every month.
• An owner must fit each room with a lock and any other device that is necessary to secure the boarding premises.
• An owner is to provide the tenant with a telephone number or other means of contacting the owner at any time.