Private Boarder agreement: licence to rent a room
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About this private boarder agreement
This document grants permission to one or more people to occupy a room in your home under the terms agreed.
There is no requirement to have a formal written legal agreement with your boarder, but having one clarifies what the boarder can expect in the arrangement, and provides a reference point should any dispute occur in the future.
Whether you’re renting a room to a friend for a month or two, or wanting a long term boarder, there are practical and legal advantages of having the rental terms in writing.
The law relating to this document
In legal terminology, this document is called "a licence to occupy" and gives a boarder permission to live in a property without creating a tenancy.
If you are taking a boarder in as a flat or house mate, this is the document you should use. We recommend granting a licence on a short-term basis (less than 12 months) and renewing it when it expires.
When to use this licence
This private boarding agreement would most commonly be used in the following circumstances:
- A property owner renting out a spare bedroom (to a stranger, a friend, or a couple)
- A student owner landlord renting spare rooms in a property to other students
It is suitable for any type of property: flats or houses, and can be used to let more than one room in the same property. You can reuse it for subsequent boarders.
You can also use this agreement to sub-let a room if you rent under a tenancy agreement (subject to your tenancy agreement allowing sub-letting) and subject to someone on the original tenancy agreement still living at the address
The document is not suitable if:
- The boarder will run a business from the property
- The boarder will occupy the whole property and the landlord lives elsewhere
- The property is occupied or intended to be occupied by at least six boarders at once. (In this condition tenancy law does apply and your boarder / tenant is protected under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986)
Some helpful and practical pointers for private boarding agreements
Mentioned in the help notes to this document (along with others) are the following pointers:
- Taking a deposit (a bond) can be done (and is covered in this agreement) but we advise that if you can avoid doing so, you should. A court may see a bond as pointing toward this arrangement being a tenancy.
- Work in to your agreement the right for you to enter the room rented to your boarder at any time. Although this needs to be done discretely, avoiding giving the boarder exclusive occupation of the property helps identify your arrangement as a licence rather than a tenancy.
- Living with a boarder can be less pleasant once you’ve given him or her notice. Consider a short term. The expectation of a short arrangement will make giving notice easier (e.g. you can mention that you don’t plan to renew, rather than that you want your boarder to leave).
Agreement features and contents
- Includes sensible, practical provisions to protect the landlord’s interests
- Full description of the property and the services that the boarder should expect to receive
- All likely provisions for restrictions on what the boarder may do in the property
- Rent period and amount
This document was written by a solicitor for Net Lawman. It complies with current New Zealand law.
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