Boarding / lodging advice for seniors

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Boarding or lodging is when you pay for a room, or room and meals, but you are not renting the entire premises. It can include arrangements where the owner lives on the property and is renting out rooms; situations where you sub-let a room in a house; and living in lodging houses.

Boarders and lodgers are not covered by the Residential Tenancies Act, but they still have rights and responsibilities.

If you have been given permission to stay at another person’s house, and have your meals provided and pay rent, you are most likely a boarder.

If you have been given permission to stay at another person’s house and pay rent but are not supplied with meals, you are most likely a lodger.

If you are a boarder or lodger,  the owner of the premises keeps control and authority over the house, even your room, and may enter any part of the house without necessarily giving you notice.

Rights of a boarder or lodger

You can expect:

  • the house to be clean and tidy and in a reasonable state of repair when you move in and while you are staying in the house, including all the rooms, common areas, facilities, furniture and equipment supplied by the owner;
  • privacy, peace and quiet and to use your room and facilities without interference by the owner;
  • access to your room, toilets and bathrooms;
  • access to common areas and facilities such as the laundry and the kitchen;
  • security for your room and personal belongings; and to
  • to be made aware of the house rules.

Responsibilities of a boarder or lodger

Your responsibilities depend on what you have agreed with the owner. For example, you could be responsible for:

  • keeping your room clean and tidy;
  • paying your rent when it is due;
  • following the house rules;
  • asking your owner before you keep any pets at the premises;
  • letting your owner know about any damage you or your visitors may have caused and paying for that damage;
  • letting your owner know if furniture, fixtures or equipment need to be fixed;
  • making sure you don’t disturb the privacy or peace of other residents;
  • allowing your owner to enter your room to clean it or in an emergency; and/or
  • keeping any vehicle you may own in an agreed place.

Questions to ask

  • How much is the rent?
  • How much do I need to pay before I can move in?
  • Does the rent cover the cost of gas, electricity, water or telephone? If not, how will I be charged for them?
  • What services will be offered by the owner and how much extra will they cost e.g. linen, laundry, cleaning or meals?
  • Does the arrangement allow for medical assistance or special diets? Will these be provided and what will it cost me?
  • Am I happy with the rules of the house?
  • Are there any limitations on visitors, noise, hours of entering and leaving, use of common areas, parking or gardening?
  • How long can I live here?
  • Will there be a restriction or penalty if I leave after only a short time?
  • How much notice do I need to give if I decide to leave, and how much notice will I receive if the owner asks me to leave?

For more information on Boarders and lodgers

Fact sheet

Detailed information from the seniors housing guide. 

Boarders and lodgers fact sheet


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