What are the House Rules in rooming accommodation and can they be changed?

Spring 2017

With sometimes many people living in fairly confined situations, rooming accommodation (boarding house) operators set rules for the efficient operation of the premises.

These rules are made about the use, enjoyment, control or management of the accommodation.

House rules form part of the resident’s rooming agreement and they must be given a copy of the rules when the agreement is signed.

If the resident breaks a house rule, they have also broken the agreement.

There are two types of house rules; prescribed rules which apply to all rooming accommodation in Queensland, and rules made by the management.

Prescribed Rules:

  • Resident and guest behaviour – the resident and their guests must not interfere with the reasonable peace, comfort and privacy of other residents.
  • Maintenance of rooms – the resident must maintain their room in a way that does not create a fire and/or health hazard, and the resident must not intentionally or recklessly damage or destroy any part of their room.
  • Common Areas – these may include a television room, bathroom, hallway or yard. The common areas should be kept safe, clean and in good repair.
  • Guests – the resident must make sure their guests are aware of, and follow the house rules.
  • Access to resident’s room – there are rules surrounding entry and the management must take reasonable steps to ensure the resident’s enjoyment of their room.
  • Door Locks and Keys – The resident must not tamper with locks or make copies of keys without management’s permission.

Provider Rules:

The management can make rules about –

  • Guests
  • Smoking
  • The use of shared facilities
  • Parking
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Keeping pets

The rooming accommodation management has the right to change the house rules, but it’s not a one-way street. Residents can object to rule changes.

But first management is required to give each resident a notice about the rule change at least 7 days before they occur.

The notice should:

  • Be given to each resident
  • Explain which rule is changing and what it is changing to
  • Give the date the new rule begins
  • Tell the residents they can object to the rule change
  • Explain how the residents can object e.g. writing a letter explaining why they don’t agree
  • The date objections must be lodged by

If no-one objects to the rule change, or if there are not enough objections made by residents, the new rule will begin on the date on the notice.

If residents object to the rule change

Generally, the RTA encourages self-resolution failing that a free resolution service is offered. If the issue is unresolved a set procedure needs to be followed.

The rule change cannot proceed if 10 residents (or a majority of residents if there are fewer than 20) object.

The management is then required to give the residents a notice informing them the rule change will not go ahead.

If management doesn’t agree with the objections it can make an application to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) and include copies of the objections.

If QCAT decided the rule is reasonable it will take effect the day of the decision.

A resident can also apply to QCAT if they believe an existing rule is unreasonable.

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