Rooming house operator entry rights and responsibilities

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If a rooming house operator wants to enter a resident’s room, there are rules they must follow.

A rooming house is a building where 4 or more people can live in rented rooms, some of which might be shared, and access communal facilities. Each resident has an individual rental agreement. It is different to a sharehouse, where everyone signs the same agreement to rent the whole property.

Operators can enter the room between 8am and 6pm on any day except public holidays. In most cases, they must give the resident at least 24 hours’ written notice. However, if they are conducting a routine inspection they must give 48 hours’ notice, and must not have conducted an inspection in the last 4 weeks.

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Reasons a rooming house operator can enter a room without notice

The only reasons a rooming house operator can enter the room without giving at least 24 hours’ notice are:

  • if the resident agrees at the time
  • if it is necessary to provide a service, and then only according to the house rules
  • in an emergency to save a life or valuable property.

Reasons that require notice

A rooming house operator can enter a room to do a general inspection to make sure the room is in good condition. They must give the resident at least 48 hours’ written notice before they do. A general inspection is only allowed once every four weeks.

A rooming house operator (or their agent) can enter a room for any of the following reasons, but they must give the resident at least 24 hours’ written notice before they do.

  • Showing the room to prospective residents, if the current resident has given notice that they are moving out (intending to vacate).
  • Showing the room to people who are interested in buying the rooming house or might lend the owner money based on its value.
  • Doing something the law says a rooming house owner must do. For example, making a repair.
  • Confirming a reasonable suspicion that the resident has not met their duties under the residency agreement. For example, if they have a good reason to think the resident has damaged something in the room.

Giving notice of entry

The rooming house operator or their agent must give the resident notice that they will enter the property. The notice must be in writing and state the reason for entry. Operators must use the Notice to resident/s of a rooming house (Word, 787KB) 

Delivering a notice

The notice must be delivered in one of the following ways:

  • by post
  • personally to the resident between 8am and 6pm.

If posting, allow for mail delivery times, which depend on:

  • your delivery method
  • where you’re mailing your notice from.

It is important to allow enough time for mail to be delivered if you are posting the notice. The Australia Post website can help calculate delivery times. If you think you might need proof that you’ve sent the notice you can use registered post.

Operator’s obligations while in the room

While visiting the room, the operator must behave in a reasonable manner. Reasonable means behaving in a way that most people would think is fair.

The operator must not stay in the room longer than necessary, unless the resident gives them permission to.

What is a rooming house

A rooming house is a building where 4 or more people can live in rented rooms, some of which might be shared.

The rooming house is managed by a rooming house operator and individual residents usually have separate agreements with the operator.

The operator can decide who can live in the property without consulting the residents.

In most rooming houses, residents share bathrooms, kitchens, laundries and other common areas. The rooming house operator and their family do not usually live in the property.
It is different to a share house, where everyone signs the same agreement.

You can read more about rooming house rental agreements.

Forms you might need

To tell a resident you are going to enter their room, you must use this form:

Sections of the Act

If you want to know what the law says about rooming house operator entry rights and responsibilities, you can read these sections of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997:

  • Section 136 – Access to room
  • Section 137 – Grounds for entry of a room.