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NSW Property Law on Visiting Girlfriend Living in Share House?

Discussion in 'Property Law Forum' started by Timo, 25 April 2016.

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  1. Timo

    Timo Member

    25 April 2016
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    I visited my girlfriend in Australia. She is living in a share house and I slept in her room in the same bed for two nights. I arrived 3 weeks ago but my girlfriend and I travelled so I wasn't in that apartment neither were my bags. Just now, I want to stay for 1 week more before I leave.

    The owner wants her to pay for 4 weeks even though in total I will only be here for 1.5 weeks. She insists that I pay 100$ for every week so in total 400$ for a shared single bed in my girlfriend's room for which she already pays 150$ a week.

    How is the legal situation under Property Law?
  2. Victoria S

    Victoria S Well-Known Member

    9 April 2014
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    Hi Timo,

    This is arguable. Having a guest stay on an informal basis does not fall within the normal sub–letting rules as you are not being granted exclusive possession of a part of the property (which is a defining factor of a leasehold agreement). And you have not agreed to enter into any kind of lease arrangement with the landlord, therefore you may argue that you should not be required to pay it. On the other hand, you can understand if the other house mates are feeling hard done by having to pay for water and electricity that another person is using - albeit only for a few weeks.

    I would first check the terms of any written agreement that your girlfriend has with her landlord or head tenant to see if she has agreed to have her guests pay rent. If she has already agreed to it, she must abide by those terms, and in any event she is the one with the contract not you - so she will ultimately be liable.

    If you want to make something of it, I would write a letter to the owner and clarify that you only stayed x amount of days and not the 4 weeks which has been charged and point out that for those days you did not obtain exclusive possession of part of the premises giving rise to an obligation to pay rent.

    You were staying in a part of the property which was exclusively possessed by your girlfriend and I would also include a reasonable sum of cash for utilities that you may have used while you were there as a peace offering. If he insists on you paying rent, and you refuse it is ultimately your girlfriend who will suffer and have to put up with an unhappy landlord.

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