Boarders, lodgers and tenants

Boarders, lodgers and tenants live on property owned by another person, called the landlord. 

The main difference between boarders, lodgers and tenants is that tenants have exclusive possession over all or part of the property.

Exclusive possession is the right to exclude all others, including the owner or landlord, from the house or room being rented. 

Boarder

If you are a boarder, the following apply:

  • you pay rent
  • you stay at landlord's house with their permission
  • the landlord keeps control over the house and can come into the house or room without notice
  • the landlord cleans the room and washes the bedding
  • meals are provided by the landlord.

Lodger

If you are a lodger, the following apply:

  • you pay rent
  • you stay at landlord's house with their permission
  • the landlord keeps control over the house and can come into the house or room without notice
  • the landlord cleans the room and washes the bedding
  • you provide your own meals.

Tenant

If you are a tenant, the following apply:

  • you pay rent
  • you have control and authority over the house or specific area such as a room
  • the landlord cannot enter without notice.

Renting from existing tenants

You can rent all or part of a house from an existing tenant. The tenant must ask the landlord for permission to sub-let the property before you move in. 

If you agree that you have exclusive possession over all or part of the house, such as a room, you are a sub-tenant. 

If you are not put on the agreement then you and the head tenant are entering into a separate contract.

The head tenants takes on the role as landlord and has the same rights and responsibilities as a landlord. 

Before you move in

You should decide what type of accommodation best suits your needs. 

You should also consider:

  • how much rent you can afford 
  • whether the rent covers electricity, water, phone and internet use
  • services offered by the landlord such as linen, laundry and meals
  • penalties for leaving after a short time
  • how much you need to pay before you move in
  • whether the house rules suit your lifestyle.

If you have to pay a bond or security deposit, make sure you ask for a receipt.

You should also ask the head tenant to explain the terms of the bond or security deposit in writing.

The head tenant should also provide you with an ingoing property condition report within three business days of you taking possession. 

For more information, contact NT Consumer Affairs.

Last updated: 27 June 2017