Students, guests and tourists will be better protected from dodgy rooming house operators under a major licensing crackdown.
Anyone who owns, leases or manages a rooming house now has to be licensed and pass a ‘fit and proper person test’, with the Rooming House Operators Act 2016 coming into effect from today.
Significant penalties apply for anyone found guilty of operating without a license, including jail terms of up to two years or a maximum fine of more than $36,000 for individuals or $182,000 for body corporates.
Under the new licensing scheme, a person will be ineligible to hold a rooming house licence if they:
- Have been convicted or found guilty of certain types of serious criminal offences – such as involvement with child exploitation material, or serious violence and drug crimes – in the past 10 years,
- Have been convicted, found guilty or declared by a court to have breached certain other laws related to the running a rooming house in the past five years,
- Are insolvent or bankrupt,
- Have had a person appointed to make financial and/or legal decisions on their behalf.
The new scheme complements the existing minimum standards relating to privacy, security, safety and amenity in rooming houses.
Additionally, an online register of licensed rooming house operators will assist people looking for accommodation to find a legitimate licensed operator.
Existing rooming house operators will have 120 days to apply to the Business Licensing Authority for a license.
New entrants to the industry will be required to hold a licence before they can commence operating a rooming house.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Consumer Affairs Marlene Kairouz
“Everyone deserves to be safe and secure in their home.”
“This legislation will make sure rooming house operators are up to scratch when it comes to running properties that are home to some of our most vulnerable Victorians.”
“It will improve professionalism and ensure operators meet their legal obligations as well as standards we expect of them as a community.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020