Under the Residential Tenancies Act 1995 (SA) a rooming house agreement can be terminated by a proprietor or resident in a number of different ways.
Specific forms must be used when giving written notice to terminate a rooming house agreement. Copies of the forms can be located here.
Termination for abandonment, unpaid rent, damage or breach
A rooming house agreement can terminate when:
- the resident abandons* the room (see further below); or
- rent is outstanding for more than two rental periods or two weeks (whichever is the lesser) and written notice has been provided to the resident given at least two clear days to pay. If the outstanding rent is not paid in the specified period contained in the written notice, the agreement terminates at the end of that period and the resident must vacate on that date;
- the resident or their visitor causes serious damage, or creates a danger to a person or to property, or seriously disrupts the peace, privacy or quiet enjoyment of another resident. The proprietor must give the resident written notice outlining that the agreement has terminated for this reason either immediately or on a specific day. The resident must vacate either immediately or on the specified day, whatever is contained in the notice; or
- a resident breaches the agreement and the proprietor gives them at least seven days written notice to vacate, after which time the agreement terminates and the resident must vacate.
* A resident will be taken to have abandoned a room if:
- the Tribunal makes a declaration under section 105V; or
- the rent payable under the agreement has remained unpaid for at least seven days, and
the proprietor has made reasonable efforts to contact the resident without success, or
has been advised by the resident that the room is abandoned.
In circumstances where a resident has abandoned a room, the proprietor may seek orders from the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) relating to the date on which the room was abandoned, and any compensation payable as a result of the abandonment.
Termination without reason
In the case of a periodic agreement, a proprietor may terminate for no reason with four weeks written notice.
In the case of a periodic agreement, a resident may terminate for no reason with one days notice.
If a resident abandons a room in a fixed term rooming house agreement of 6 months or more, they may be liable for costs caused by the abandonment , however the proprietor mst take reasonable steps to mitigate any loss [see ss 105V (3)-(4)].
Termination based on abuse of a rooming house resident
Where an intervention order is in force against a rooming house resident an application may be made to the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) for an order to either terminate or replace the existing rooming house agreement [s 105UA(1)]. The Tribunal must be satisfied that the intervention order is for the protection of the applicant or a domestic associate of the applicant who normally resides in the rooming house.
Property abandoned by the resident after vacating
Specific rules apply as to what a proprietor can do with property left behind by a resident who has vacated the rooming house.
If the property consists of perishable goods, the proprietor can dispose or destroy the goods at any time after taking back repossession of the room.
If the property consists of other items that are not personal documents, the proprietor must keep the items safe for a period of at least 14 days after repossession of the room has occurred, and must make reasonable attempts to notify the former resident that property has been left behind at the premises. After the 14 days (or more) has passed, the proprietor can dispose of or destroy the items.
If the property consists of personal documents, the proprietor must keep the documents safe for a period of at least 14 days after repossession of the room, and must make reasonable attempts to notify the former resident that personal documents have been left behind at the premises. If the former resident does not reclaim the documents within the 14 day (or more) period, the proprietor can dispose of or destroy the documents after that time.
If the proprietor has incurred reasonable costs in storing the property, they may require the former resident to reimburse them of those costs.
See Residential Tenancies Act 1995 (SA) s 105W.
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