Top 5 most unique share accommodation laws

on 3 September 2015 by Hugh

Putting together our legal guides, the team at Flatmates.com.au came across some great information and simplified it into our free Legal Guides. We’ve also found some baffling laws—here are our top 5 most unique share accommodation laws.

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1. Sharehouse apocalypse in Western Australia

Although it probably goes without saying, if every co-tenant under a tenancy agreement dies, then the agreement is terminated. Nonetheless, in Western Australia this is made abundantly clear with the legislation saying that “a residential tenancy agreement shall…be terminated…where every tenant dies.” We think this provision probably wins the award for most morbid share accommodation law in Australia. There may be a need for a revision of the law however if season six of the Walking Dead makes a detour to Perth - zombies are always a legal minefield!

2. Option fees in Western Australia

Option Fees are used by prospective tenants in WA to reserve a rental premises for an agreed period while they decide whether to enter a tenancy agreement. There are limits on the maximum option fee, which is usually $50 to $100. Strangely enough, if the property is located south of the 26th Parallel and the weekly rent is $1,200 or more, then the maximum option fees jumps up to $1,200. The 26th Parallel South runs through the Shark Bay area, meaning this law really only applies to properties in the southern half of Western Australia. We’re not sure why this is the case, but may be due to different property values in Perth compared to the North-West. Whatever the reason, happy days if you’re a tenant in Broome!

3. Incompatibility for short-term caravan park residents in Queensland

For short-term ‘moveable-dwelling’ (i.e. caravan) tenancies in Queensland (42 days or less), the landlord can terminate the agreement on the grounds of ‘incompatibility.’ We’re still unsure exactly what classifies a landlord and tenant as ‘incompatible,’ but it almost seems like the Queensland Government think that people living in caravan parks are particularly prone to personality clashes. Even Senior Member of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Peta Stilgoe seemed unsure, writing: “In this dispute, both parties chose a difficult, seldom travelled path to the tribunal.” We look forward to the outcome next time someone else takes this path!

4. Landlords photographing a tenant’s belongings in Tasmania

Chronic Instagramming landlords in Tasmania need to be careful. Unless the landlord has the tenant’s written consent, the landlord is not allowed to publicly display any photos or video of any objects in the premises that identify the tenant (or anyone else). This rule is designed to prevent landlords from using photographs of the tenant’s belongings to advertise the premises.

5. Fumigating for parasites in Western Australia

If a tenant in Western Australia intends to keep a pet that can carry parasites at the premises, then the landlord can charge up to $260 in addition to the security deposit (bond) to cover fumigation costs at the end of the tenancy. So if you’re a tenant with dog, cat, hamster, rabbit, or basically anything fluffy, then you can expect to have to pay for its potential parasites too!

Have you come across any other interesting or strange laws? We want to hear about them!

Person
  • Hugh
  • media@flatmates.com.au
  • Hugh is the legal educator at Flatmates.com.au and a law student at Sydney University. Living in Sydney's Inner West, he can usually be found reading about American history, watching Cricket, or not looking hip enough for the cafes he frequents.