What is my share accommodation situation? - ACT

Understanding which laws apply to your agreement will help you know your rights and obligations. Flatmates recommends using residential tenancy agreements in most share accommodation situations.

What are the different types of share accommodation agreements?

In the ACT, there are 2 legal categories of agreement that can cover share accommodation. Knowing which one should apply to your situation is essential for understanding what the relevant rights and obligations are.

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What type of agreement applies to my situation?

In the ACT, there are 4 common share accommodation situations. Different types of agreements apply to each situation. In most cases, a residential tenancy agreement should be used.

The 4 situations are:

1. Landlord rents entire property to single tenant

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Type of Agreement: Residential Tenancy Agreement

This is the standard rental situation where one tenant rents an entire property (i.e. a house or apartment) from the landlord. ACT tenancy law will automatically apply.

In this situation you should always use the standard form Residential Tenancy Agreement and the Bond needs to be registered with the Office of Rental Bonds.

2. Landlord rents entire property to multiple co-tenants under one agreement

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Type of Agreement: Residential Tenancy Agreement

This is common in share accommodation arrangement, where a group of co-tenants are listed on a single tenancy agreement. This situation is the same as a single tenant renting a whole property.

In this situation you should always use the standard form Residential Tenancy Agreement and the Bond needs to be registered with the Office of Rental Bonds.

All co-tenants jointly share the same rights and obligations under the tenancy agreement. The division of rent is a matter of agreement between the co-tenants, but all co-tenants are jointly liable for the whole of the rental amount and any damages that occur to the property.

If an existing tenant (or co-tenants) wants to add another person to the agreement as a co-tenant, they must gain the landlord’s written consent. To add a new co-tenant, you should create a new tenancy agreement including the incoming co-tenant.

3. Sub-tenant rents a room from a head-tenant, with access to shared facilities

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Type of Agreement: Residential Tenancy Agreement (recommended) or Occupancy Agreement

This is another common share accommodation situation. The landlord rents the entire premises to the head-tenant under a residential tenancy agreement. The head-tenant then rents part of the premises to the sub-tenant. Under the sub-tenancy agreement, the sub-tenant usually has exclusive use of a bedroom and shared use of facilities like bathrooms and kitchens with the head-tenant.

The agreement between the head-tenant and sub-tenant can be classified as either a residential tenancy agreement or an occupancy, depending on the exact circumstances. Flatmates strongly recommends using the standard form Residential Tenancy Agreement as this will ensure that the more comprehensive residential tenancy law will apply to your situation.

In this situation, the head-tenant is in effect the landlord to the sub-tenant. The agreement should clearly state the areas of the house that the sub-tenant has exclusive use of (e.g. bedroom) and shared use of (e.g. bathrooms, kitchens). Before the head-tenant can sub-let to a sub-tenant, they must gain the written consent of the landlord. A sub-tenancy will be invalid if the landlord has not given written consent.

Occupancy agreements cover any residential accommodation agreement that is not a tenancy. While ACT law provides some rights and obligations for landlords and occupants in occupancy agreements, these are not as comprehensive as tenancy law. Therefore, even if you do not opt into a residential tenancy agreement, your agreement will still be covered by the occupancy rules. Given that the occupancy principles are not as extensive as tenancy laws, in most circumstances it is recommended that you use a residential tenancy agreement.

Read more about Occupancy Agreements in the ACT.

4. Landlord rents rooms on separate agreements with access to shared facilities

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Type of Agreement: Residential Tenancy Agreement (recommended) or Occupancy Agreement

This is another common share accommodation situation. In these circumstances, the landlord rents 1 or more rooms on separate agreements to different people. Under each of these agreements, the tenant usually has exclusive use of a bedroom and shared use of facilities like bathrooms and kitchens with the landlord (and/or other tenants).

Each of the agreements can be classified as either  a residential tenancy agreement or an Occupancy Agreement, depending on the exact circumstances. Flatmates strongly recommends using the standard form Residential Tenancy Agreement as this will ensure that the more comprehensive residential tenancy law will apply to your situation.

In this situation, it is important that the agreement clearly state the areas of the house that each tenant has exclusive use of (e.g. bedroom) and shared use of (e.g. bathrooms, kitchens).

Occupancy agreements cover any residential accommodation agreement that is not a tenancy. While ACT law provides some rights and obligations for landlords and occupants in occupancy agreements, these are not as comprehensive as tenancy law. Therefore, even if you do not opt into a residential tenancy agreement, your agreement will still be covered by the occupancy rules. Given that the occupancy principles are not as extensive as tenancy laws, in most circumstances it is recommended that you use a residential tenancy agreement.

Read more about Occupancy Agreements in the ACT.

Back to What is my Share Accommodation situation?


These legal guides provide a brief summary and introduction of the laws and regulations affecting share accommodation. They do not cover all cases in all legal jurisdictions and might not apply in your specific share accommodation situation. It is important that you use this information as a guide only and seek independent Legal Advice or consult the Relevant Acts. We do not accept any liability that may arise from the use of this information.