Running a hostel

Student hostels can be set up and run by schools or by private providers and include health camps. Hostels need to be licenced to operate and and licences are renewed every 3 years. ERO reviews all hostels as part of their regular review cycle.

Setting up a new hostel

A hostel is defined as having 5 or more beds and charges students a fee for boarding there. Both schools and private providers can set up a hostel. If you want to set up a new hostel you should read the Guidelines to the hostel regulations 2005 (guidelines) [PDF, 1.2 MB] before completing the application form. All hostels need to meet the minimum standards specified in these guidelines.

Schools must contact their Ministry Property Advisor for advice, if they plan to build a new hostel.

Renewing a hostel licence

You need to renew your hostel licence every 3 years. The Ministry of Education (the Hostel Licencing Authority) will email you a reminder that your licence is expiring 2, 6, and 12 months before the expiry date. You need to submit your licence renewal form 20 working days before the licence expires.

When things change

Hostel owners need to let the Hostel Licencing Authority know when there is a change of owner, change of premises and notice of new directors.

Scan and send the completed forms to 

Hostel reviews

The Education Review Office (ERO) review all hostels (external link) as part of their regular review cycle. 

Complaints about hostels

Students, schools and parents can complain about a hostel. Complaints need to be sent to the hostel owner who  will follow the complaints procedure on page 31 of the guidelines. 

Operating a hostel

Hostels need to meet minimum operating standards for the building structure and facilities, maintenance, emergency management and health and safety. See the Guidelines for further details or contact your Ministry Property Advisor.

Hostel running costs

Hostel owners must be able to pay the running costs, including the upkeep, from boarding fees or other board funds.

We don't provide any operating, maintenance or capital funding for hostels. This means that you can't pay for your hostel’s maintenance costs using your school’s Property Maintenance Grant (PMG) or 5 Year Agreement (5YA) funding.

Setting hostel fees

Hostel owners must set hostel fees at a level that will cover all operating, maintenance and modernisation costs.

Financial accounting for your school hostel

If you're a school hostel owner you should contact their Ministry Financial Advisor if you need assistance with this.

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