A guide to renting with others

Shared living arrangements come with a number of social and economic benefits, particularly in the current tight rental market – so how do you make sure you’ve found the right fit long-term?

1. Understand the different types of shared tenancy agreements 

It’s important to understand the type of tenancy agreement you’ll be entering, and if it’s covered under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (the Act). 

Share housing 

A share house arrangement is a tenancy agreement between a property manager/owner and two or more tenants.  

In this arrangement: 

  • the property manager/owner is responsible for managing all aspects of the tenancy 
  • tenants are referred to as ‘co-tenants’, and can either be jointly or individually liable for all of the rent and paying the bond 
  • all parties are covered under the Act. 


A sub-let arrangement is a tenancy agreement between a ‘head-tenant’ and a ‘sub-tenant’. This occurs when a tenant in an existing tenancy agreement with a property manager/owner has permission to rent part or all of the property to other tenants.  

In this arrangement: 


A boarding/lodging arrangement is a tenancy agreement where you rent a room but are not considered a ‘tenant’ or ‘resident’ under the Act. This can be the case if you’re renting a room in a family or friend’s property. 

In this arrangement: 

  • the owner is responsible for managing all aspects of the tenancy 
  • no parties are covered under the Act, but any bond monies paid are protected under the Act and must be lodged with the RTA.  

It’s important to note that boarding is different to living in a boarding house, which is a type of rooming accommodation

If you’re experiencing an issue while renting and aren’t sure if you’re covered under the Act, contact us for information. If we’re unable to help you determine what shared living arrangement you’re in, you can make an urgent application to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) to make a decision about whether you’re a tenant, resident, or boarder/lodger.

2. Know your rights and responsibilities  

You have certain rights and responsibilities depending on the type of tenancy agreement you enter. 

As a prospective tenant looking for a property, be mindful of illegal acts like rental scams and rent bidding.  

When you’ve found a property that meets your needs, make sure you read the tenancy agreement in full and note any special terms. You have the right to negotiate any existing special terms and request special terms of your own for inclusion.  

Once you’ve secured a property and signed a tenancy agreement, it’s also important to know your rights around: 

3. Set expectations early  

When living with other people, it’s important to communicate living arrangement expectations as soon as possible to ensure a safe, respectful, and happy environment. 

Tenants can draft their own written agreements outlining general house rules and responsibilities that everyone agrees to, such as:   

  • rental obligations 
  • shared bills 
  • cleaning 
  • shared amenities 
  • guests and visitors 
  • pets and children 
  • communication and conflict resolution.  

Tenants Queensland provides a useful sample agreement between co-tenants in their Share Housing fact sheet (PDF file, 431KB).  

If you’re living in rooming accommodation, they may already have house rules for you to refer to.  

Additional resources 

For more information, check out our podcast episode on Sub-letting or share housing

If you’re a student renter, you can also refer to our Students webpage.

Original publication on 27 Sep 2022
Last updated on 31 Oct 2022

Note: While the RTA makes every reasonable effort to ensure that information on this website is accurate at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after publication may impact on the accuracy of material. This disclaimer is in addition to and does not limit the application of the Residential Tenancies Authority website disclaimer.