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Rooming house operators

Information about who is or who can be a rooming house operator.

Rooming house operators are defined as: a corporate entity or natural person that conducts the business of operating a rooming house, regardless of whether they own the building being used as a rooming house or not. The rooming house operator is the entity that provides rooming house residents with a statutory licence to live in the rooming house.

Frequently rooming house 'operators' do not own the building that is being used to operate the rooming house. Occasionally they are not even the direct renter of the person who owns the building.

Protection for rooming house residents

Licensing of rooming house operators

All people who operate a rooming house must be licensed to do so. Applications can be made by a person who is over 18 years old or a body corporate (company, co-operative or incorporated association). There is an exception for public housing rooming house operators. A rooming house operator must be a 'fit and proper person' to get a licence.

If a building is declared to be a rooming house under Residential Tenancies Act 1997 the operator has 60 days to get a licence.

Penalty

It is an offence to operate a rooming house without a licence. The maximum penalty is:

  • 240 penalty units for a natural person
  • 1200 penalty units for a body corporate

See s. 3, 716, 17—Rooming House Operations Act 2016 (Vic)(opens in a new window)

To check if a rooming house operator is licensed see Consumer Affairs Victoria—Public register or rooming house operators(opens in a new window).

Long notice period if rooming house operator leaves

If a rooming house operator's interest in the building is terminated, the owner of the rooming house building must provide a mandatory 45-day notice period to rooming house residents. The building owner has to make reasonable enquiries about who is living in the rooming house so that they can give the proper notice, although the Act allows a notice to be served by sticking it on the door of the resident's room.

During the 45-day notice period the owner of the building may receive rent and must maintain the premises in the condition it was in when the rooming house operator's interest ceased. The building owner will also be bound by most (but not all) of the duties that a rooming house operator is subject to.

See s. 142ZO—Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

More information

Legislation

Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic)

  • s. 3—refers to Rooming House Operations Act 2016 for definition of a rooming house operator
  • s. 19—power of minister to declare a building to be a rooming house
  • s. 142ZO—minimum notice period to be given by owner of the building or other person who is not the rooming house operator

See Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Rooming House Operations Act 2016 (Vic)

  • s. 3—defines a 'rooming house operator', 'fit and proper person' and 'body corporate'
  • s. 7—creates an offence to operate a rooming house without a licence
  • s. 16—granting or refusing a licence

See Rooming House Operations Act 2016 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV)

The Consumer Affairs Victoria website includes a section for rooming house residents and operators. The information provided outlines the responsibilities of both parties.

See:

Tenants Victoria

Tenants Victoria is a specialist community legal service. They provide telephone advice to residents of rooming houses about their rights.

See Tenants Victoria—Contact us.

They also provide information for people living in rooming houses, including the Rooming house resident's handbook.

See Tenants Victoria—Rooming houses(opens in a new window).

Updated