Homestay (private board)

Also known as full board, board or homestay, private boarding usually involves staying with a family and sharing facilities and meals in some cases.

You would have:

  • your own bedroom (usually fully furnished)
  • shared bathroom facilities in most cases
  • use of communal living areas

You may be able to participate in your host family’s daily routines, ranging from helping with household chores to joining in their social activities. If your first language is not English, this is a good way to practise.

Cost and conditions

The amount you pay each week usually covers your room, electricity, gas and water but you pay separately for telephone calls and internet access. If meals are included, this generally involves breakfast and dinner daily and lunches at weekends – but check with your host.

The weekly cost of private board or homestay varies depending on your chosen provider, and usually includes a one-off placement fee.

If a security bond is required, it is preferable that it be lodged according to the Residential Tenancies Act 1987, even though as a boarder or lodger you are not officially covered by the Act.

We recommend you document the conditions attached to the accommodation before you move in and keep a copy of your lodging agreement so there is no misunderstanding or confusion later.


UWA does not arrange homestay accommodation. Following is a list of providers listed that – among others – can help find you a room in shared accommodation or with a family. Homestays can cover a short time – such as your first couple of weeks or months at University – or the whole academic year.

There may be other homestay providers who offer a similar service.

The providers listed above are provided for information only. Others may be available. We are unable to recommend any one provider over another.

Things to consider

  • Check when the rent is due. For example, fortnightly on Monday mornings.
  • Get a receipt for all money paid to the homeowner. The receipt should show who paid the rent and who to, the date paid, period of rent and amount.
  • Discuss what happens during vacation time if you wish to return home or visit family. You may be charged the full rate if you are not occupying the room.
  • Discuss whether a lock can be installed on your bedroom door for which you hold the only key.

Legal protection

Boarders and lodgers are not currently covered under the Residential Tenancies Act 1987 (RTA). Even if the person offering the room on the basis of 'full board' is a tenant themselves, you may still be viewed as a boarder or lodger.

The Department of Commerce can provide information on the Act.

If a dispute arises, the protection offered to a boarder or lodger is not as extensive as that offered to a tenant. Should a dispute escalate to the point of court action, the matter must be pursued through the Civil Court.