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Boarding House Claime To Tossed Out

A camping ground owner who tried to convince the tribunal her caravan park was a boarding house has been given short shrift and told to pay compensation for evicting a long-term tenant.


1 August 2021

Briar Albert runs a caravan park with her husband and the tenant signed a long-term agreement in July 2018 to rent a caravan and annex for herself and her mother at $195 a week.

In April this year the tenant was given a two-week eviction notice. She took a case to the tribunal claiming exemplary damages for removal costs, breach of quiet enjoyment amounting to harassment, retaliatory notice and being given an eviction notice unlawfully.

Albert and her husband challenged whether the tenant had a residential tenancy. They claimed the camping ground was run as a boarding house, which is outside the jurisdiction of the tribunal.

Adjudicator J Robson said the RTA does apply to the tenant as she occupied, under a tenancy agreement, a caravan at a camping ground. “The long-term occupation agreement was for a minimum term of 12 weeks but the tenant had been resident at the camp since 2018 and Parliament has been clear in its intention the RTA will apply to any such accommodation exceeding 50 days,” said Robson.

Camp Ground Confusion

Albert told the tribunal the camping ground should be regarded as a boarding house as the provisions relating to boarding houses are more applicable to their model – managing 80 to 90 sites that share common facilities.

She claimed the camp is a boarding house as the tenancies are intended for stays longer than 28 days with more than six tenants at one time and all facilities shared, including toilet and bathroom, cooking and laundry.

Robson said section 66B RTA defines a boarding house as residential premises with one or more boarding rooms along with facilities for communal use by the tenants and intended to be occupied by at least six people at any one time.

Section 2 of the Act defines residential premises as: Any premises used or intended for occupation by any person as a place of residence, whether or not the occupation or intended occupation for residential purposes is or would be unlawful.

Lastly premises includes (other than in relation to a boarding house tenancy) any part of any premises; any land and appurtenances, other than facilities; and any mobile home, caravan, or other means of shelter placed upon any land. “It is clear a caravan is regarded as residential premises but the definition does not extend to the whole campground as the ‘house’. The common understanding of the term ‘house’ is a building inwhich people reside,” said Robson.

“The caravan park cannot be regarded as a boarding house and the agreement is not a boarding house agreement but a residential tenancy.”

Alternate Route

Albert said she gave the tenant a twoweek eviction notice after the tenant and the occupant nearest the toilet block fell out in November last year. After a number of meetings, Albert suggested that the tenant steer clear of the occupant and take an alternative route from her caravan to the toilet block.

The tenant told the tribunal she was frustrated and felt degraded at having to walk along a path around the back of the caravans opposite her site. She tried it for a few hours and later that day Albert said she heard the tenant yelling and screaming abuse at the other occupant.

The eviction notice ensued, but the tribunal said even though there was a clause in the long-term accommodation agreement for a tenancy to be ended on a fortnight’s notice, it is of no effect as under the RTA:

“Any purported waiver by a tenant of any right or power conferred upon tenants by this Act shall be of no effect.”

As the tenant left at short notice, the tribunal granted her $484 compensation for trailer hire and four weeks storage of her belongings before she had been able to find other accommodation.


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