Some renters at the Pacific Suites hotel in Canberra were not told it would be used as a quarantine facility, despite having signed a lease after a decision to house the overseas arrivals there was made.
Long-term guests at the Pacific Suites were told on November 12 that the hotel would be used to accommodate 120 overseas arrivals for two weeks of quarantine.
However, new tenant Justin Weng along with his partner signed a 12-month rental lease on November 13 and were not informed it was about to receive hotel quarantine guests.
It was only after he picked up the keys to the property on November 17, almost a week after the decision was made, that he was informed about the hotel's use.
"I was pissed off because there are safety concerns and that we'd be staying in a building with a group of people who potentially have COVID," Mr Weng said.
"It came as a complete surprise, and I wish I knew about it before I had signed the contract as this might have affected my decision."
ACT Health confirmed on Saturday one of the passengers in quarantine, a woman in her 20s, tested positive for COVID-19, but health authorities have said the woman returned a low positive result, having first testing positive a month ago.
The hotel will be used for quarantine purposes for another repatriation flight set to land in December before Christmas.
Mr Weng said he and his partner had been looking for a property to rent together since September, and the news of his new apartment being in same complex as a hotel quarantine was a blow.
"We're both international students, so buying new furniture is expensive, so we chose the Pacific Suites because it was furnished and the electricity was included and it was close to the city," he said.
"If I had known [about the hotel quarantine] I would've looked at other rooms, but I had already told my old landlord that I was moving out so I couldn't move back to my old rental."
Along with long-term residents, who live on level two of the complex, all rooms on level five and six of Pacific Suites are rented out through property management companies.
It comes after long-term residents were given the option to stay in the hotel while it was being used for hotel quarantine or find new accommodation at their own expense.
In an email seen by The Canberra Times, renters at the Pacific Suites were told by property managers that returning passengers would be staying on separate floors which would not be accessible.
"There will be no impact to the residents of Pacific Suites, apart from on arrival/departure days when one lift and an entrance will be inaccessible for general use," the email said.
Residents were told to use the secondary entrance on Mort Street while the returning passengers would enter and exit the building through the main entrance on Northbourne Avenue.
Health authorities had said all common areas would be sanitised and disinfected prior to being used by all residents again.
The Pacific Suites was selected for hotel quarantine due to travellers having access to fresh air on a balcony and also had access to their own kitchen and cooking facilities.
A spokeswoman for Pacific Suites said the residential apartments at the complex were managed by an external property management company.
"Residents and potential residents have been kept well informed as information, including dates, is received from ACT Health," the spokeswoman said.
"Residents have been given the opportunity to terminate, suspend or delay their lease without penalty.
"A thorough health and risk audit of the property, including the residential section, was undertaken by ACT Health before Pacific Suites Canberra was approved for the returned traveller program."
An ACT Health spokesman said residents at the Pacific Suites were given as long a lead time as possible before the returned travellers arrived for hotel quarantine.
"During this process, ACT Health worked closely with hotel management to ensure long-term residents were informed and felt confident about the measures in place for returning guests."
"Quarantining guests are not located on the same floor as long-term residents and use different lifts and entry point from long-term residents."