We commenced a new licensing scheme, with the Rooming House Operators Act 2016 coming into effect in April 2017. This scheme will foster professionalism in the rooming house sector.
Rooming houses often attract the most vulnerable Victorians who are unable to obtain any other form of accommodation, including the long-term homeless and people in need of crisis housing. Residents often include single people on low incomes and a growing number of older women, international students and recently arrived migrants.
Anyone who owns, leases or manages a rooming house now has to be licensed and pass a ‘fit and proper person’ test. Significant penalties apply for anyone found guilty of operating without a licence, including jail terms of up to two years or a maximum fine of more than $38,000 for individuals or $190,000 for a body corporate.
Prior to the implementation of this new scheme, we engaged extensively with stakeholders and wrote to all registered rooming houses on a number of occasions. Information sessions for rooming house operators were also held.
We monitored and supported licensees through the application process with 99 licences approved by 30 June 2017.