Briefing: Unreasonable restrictions on children and other occupants in rental housing



October 2014

Most residential tenancy agreements set a maximum number of persons – including children – who may ordinarily live at the rented premises. 

Under the current law, there is nothing to stop landlords from setting an unreasonably low and restrictive maximum number. In our experience it is common for the maximum number of persons to simply reflect the number of persons in the application for the tenancy – and not the size of the property.

This means that tenants may have to ask for their landlords’ consent before an additional occupant – such as a partner, spouse or even a new baby – moves in.

The TU is aware of cases where landlords have refused to allow children to join a household, and have given termination notices because a child breaches the maximum number of persons allowed.

We propose that the law be changed to provide that the maximum number of residents must not be unreasonable, and that the term should not be able to be used to restrict the addition of a partner or child to the household.