Advice on Boarder's
Who is a boarder?

A boarder is someone who rents a room in a private home or a boarding house. Laundry, kitchen and bathroom facilities are usually shared and meals are often included. If more than 20 per cent of the weekly board covers meals, washing, cleaning, linen, electricity, phone, etc the person is a boarder not a tenant.

If the boarding house is used for temporary or transient accommodation the resident is considered a boarder not a tenant. If the house or flat is lived in by the landlord or a member of the landlord's family, it will not be covered by the Residential Tenancies Act and the person will be considered a boarder not a tenant.

What is a boarding house?

The Housing Improvement Regulations define a boarding house as any house or part of a house where five or more persons (other than the owner-occupier and their family) live.

  • Boarding houses also must comply with The Building Act, which stipulates, for example, rooms must be of a certain size, a maximum number of people per room, and a ratio of toilet facilities to residents.
  • The Food Hygiene Regulations, which require, for example, that if food is being prepared on the premises, the kitchens must comply with the Regulations.

Complaints about the conditions of boarding houses can be made to the local authority.

What rights do boarders have?

Boarders' rights and responsibilities are not set out in any law. The rights a boarder has will depend on any agreement negotiated with the landlord. Boarders are generally in a weak bargaining position, so much will depend on the goodwill and reasonableness of the landlord.

Is there a special form for the agreement?

No, but it should be in writing and signed by the boarder and the landlord.

What should be in a boarding agreement?

  • how much the board is per week
  • when it is to be paid and how, for example - "board of 110 is to be paid every Tuesday by automatic payment to bank account ......."

It should include:

  • when board will be reviewed and how much notice will be given for board increases
  • the payment of a bond or security
  • the notice period to end the agreement, for example - "either party can end this agreement by giving two weeks' notice in writing"
  • arrangements for friends and family to visit, including overnight stays.

What if the landlord wants to evict a boarder?

The boarder is entitled to the notice period in the agreement. If there is no agreement, then a reasonable period of notice should be given. This will depend on the circumstances and could be anything from one to three weeks or more.

What can a boarder do about a dispute with a landlord?

Disputes between boarders and landlords are not automatically covered by the Residential Tenancies Act, although it can apply if the agreement says it is covered by the Act. Ultimately, because boarders have few rights, there is little help the law can provide and problems are best dealt with using practical common sense solutions.

A dispute can be taken to the Disputes Tribunal if, for example

  • a landlord fails to supply all promised services
  • there is a dispute about damage to property
  • a dispute develops about board paid, (not debt recovery, but to establish the debt owed).

Sample Boarding Agreement

Shown below is a sample form which may be used as a guide to the type of information which should be included

This is a boarding agreement between : …………………………. (Board Provider) and …………………………… (Boarder)

1. The Board is ….... per week

2. The Board is to be paid every Tuesday by automatic payment to the following bank account……………….……………….

3. The Boarder will pay a bond of ……….

4. The Board will cover

  • accommodation
  • food and preparation of meals
  • electricity/gas
  • use of telephone (boarder to pay for own toll calls)
  • use of laundry facilities (including washing powder).

5. The Boarder will have exclusive use of their room.

6. The Boarder will be responsible for cleaning their room and for cleaning the kitchen, bathroom and laundry facilities after using them.

7. The Boarder may have visits from friends and family and shall be allowed overnight guests and/or overnight guests shall be allowed only by prior agreement of the Board Provider.

8. The amount of the Board will be reviewed every ………….. and the Board provider will give ………… weeks' notice of any increase.

9. Either the Board Provider or the Boarder can end this boarding agreement by giving two weeks' notice in writing.

Sample Trespass Notice

A Trespass Notice must be in this form or very similar

IN THE MATTER of the Trespass Act 1980

TO : ……………………………………………………………

Take notice that pursuant to the Trespass Act 1980 you are warned to leave the land and premises at …………………………………………………………..

If you do not leave the said land and premises you will commit an offence against Section 3 of the Trespass Act 1980 which offence may be dealt with by summary conviction in the District Court.

The penalty for such offence being a fine of up to 1,000 or imprisonment for a term of up to three months.

Dated this ..….. day of ……………………… 20….

Signed : …………………………….. The owner/occupier of the said land or premises